Osteoporosis is very common diagnosis, especially as we get older. It is estimated that more than 200 million people have osteoporosis. Approximately 1 in 3 women over the age of 50 years old and 1 in 5 men will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. Osteoporosis leads to 8.9 million fractures annually worldwide. Read below to learn more about this pathology and how physical therapy can help.
Osteoporosis is low bone density, or decreased thickness in the bone. It leads to decreased bone strength as well as changes in the bone structure. This makes it so the bone is thinner and more porous. Due to these changes, the bones are weaker and are unable to withstand the usual forces of everyday life, leading to potential fractures.
This condition is more common in older women, usually occuring during the first 5 years of menopause. That being said, men and children can get osteoporosis too due to other conditions. In addition, other life styles can lead to an increase risk in developing this pathology.
You may never notice that you have osteoporosis until a fracture occurs. Some signs can include loss of height or a forward posture in your spine known as kyphosis. If you have a spinal fracture from a small task such as picking up an object, sitting down in a chair too hard, or stepping off a curb, then you may want to have your bone density checked.
Talk with your doctor to have a DEXA scan performed to find your T-score and your Z-score:
Physical therapy is a great thing to look into if you receive a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Your Physical Therapist can help you with:
The key will be weightbearing exercises and resistance exercises. These are optimal for bone health and to help build bone density.
Some examples of weight-bearing exercises include:
If you have receive a recent diagnosis of osteoporosis, a recent fracture, or you have been experiencing osteoporosis for a long time, reach out to the clinic so we can help you! Give us a call if you are in Falls Church, Arlington, or the surrounding areas.
1. Sözen T, Özışık L, Başaran NÇ. An overview and management of osteoporosis. Eur J Rheumatol. 2017 Mar;4(1):46-56. doi: 10.5152/eurjrheum.2016.048. Epub 2016 Dec 30. PMID: 28293453; PMCID: PMC5335887.
2. Johnell, O. and J.A. Kanis, An estimate of the worldwide prevalence and disability associated with osteoporotic fractures. Osteoporos Int, 2006. 17(12): p. 1726-33