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Physical therapy for osteoporosis

What is osteoporosis?

Affecting about 54 million Americans, osteoporosis is a disease that occurs when the body stops producing new, healthy bone. Much like skin, bone must continue to regenerate and renew in order to remain healthy. When it doesn’t, bones become weak and brittle. This is exactly what happens in patients with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is most common in patients over the age of 50, and much more common in women than in men. Studies suggest that up to one in two women and one in four men will break a bone due to osteoporosis at some point. Broken bones are the most common complications resulting from osteoporosis, but patients can also experience chronic discomfort and shrinking as well.

In addition, osteoporosis can limit a patient’s mobility, confining them to the home or forcing them into nursing home care. This can in turn lead to depression and/or feelings of isolation.

Source: National Osteoporosis Foundation

Osteoporosis symptoms

Osteoporosis is considered a “silent disease,” as it can develop without patients realizing it. Many patients aren’t aware that they have osteoporosis until they experience a fracture or broken bone. However, there are some early-stage signs and symptoms that accompany the disease and can serve as signals that it’s time to consult with a doctor. These include receding gums, brittle fingernails, and weakening grip strength.

As osteoporosis progresses, patients may experience loss of height (shrinking), chronic back or neck pain, and stooped posture. The most telling sign of osteoporosis, however, is a fracture or break from a minor fall, bump, or movement. In severe cases, patients may even break or fracture a bone simply by sneezing.

The most common symptoms of osteoporosis include:

  • Weakened grip
  • Receding gums
  • Brittle fingernails
  • Chronic back pain
  • Stooped posture
  • Broken or fractured bones

Source: WebMD and Healthline

What causes osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is the direct result of the body absorbing more bone than it produces, which causes the thinning and weakening of the bones over time. Poor diet is frequently linked with osteoporosis. Calcium and other vitamins and minerals can promote healthy bone growth, while excessive protein, caffeine, or sodium may hinder it.

There are also several medical conditions and medications associated with osteoporosis. Patients with intestinal problems, kidney disease, or thyroid problems are at an elevated risk of developing this disease, and patients who are on glucocorticoids, antiseizure medications, proton pump inhibitors, or coumadin should also take measures to preserve bone density.

Lack of exercise, smoking, and excessive alcohol consumption can all weaken the bones and contribute to the development of osteoporosis, as can a number of risk factors that patients cannot control. These include ethnicity (caucasians, asians, and latinos are more at-risk), advanced age, gender (women are more at-risk), having a family history of osteoporosis, having a history of broken or fractured bones, and menopause.

The most common causes of osteoporosis include:

  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Old age
  • Menopause
  • Certain medical conditions

Source: Endocrineweb.com

Physical therapy for osteoporosis

Physical therapy can help patients with osteoporosis improve their bone health, halt the loss of bone density, and avoid breaking or fracturing bones. PT’s can teach patients specific techniques and exercises to improve balance and reduce the risk of falls. A PT program designed to help patients suffering from this condition will likely include postural training, as the stooped posture that many patients exhibit due to discomfort can actually worsen their condition.

Common exercises include heel drops, walking, dancing, or jogging (depending on the patient’s overall health), as well as light resistance band and balance exercises. The therapist can also educate the patient on pain-relieving techniques to improve their overall quality of life.

Source: Move Forward PT

The best osteoporosis physical therapists in
the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles

Luna’s physical therapists are experts in decreasing pain, restoring bone health, and increasing mobility for patients with osteoporosis. Our licensed PTs will work with you to create a personalized course of treatment that alleviates pain while preventing further deterioration of the bone. The ultimate goal of every Luna PT is to help osteoporosis patients return to the activities they enjoy.

Best of all, with Luna, patients can get PT treatment for osteoporosis at home, at the office, at the park, or at the location of their choosing. It’s physical therapy, delivered.

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