At Community Memorial Hospital, we take a team approach to treating and managing osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis is a common bone disease characterized by low bone mass and thinning of bone tissue. It is also known as the “bone thinning” disease. This condition leads to the bones becoming more fragile and thus more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis most often progresses silently without pain until a bone fractures.
Bone density screenings will determine your risk for osteoporosis. If the screening results show significant bone loss, our nurse practitioner and physical therapy staff will develop a treatment plan to help prevent the disease from progressing.
Warning Signs of Osteoporosis
- Loss of height greater than 1.5 inches.
- Change in posture, such as a hump in the upper spine.
- Prior fractures from minor trauma or injury.
Osteoporosis was once thought to be an inevitable part of aging. Although more common in women past 50 years of age, osteoporosis can strike at any age in both females and males. The lifetime risk of an osteoporosis-related fracture is 50 percent for women and 25 percent for men. Osteoporosis is now recognized as a treatable disease that often can be prevented.
Treatment and Management of Osteoporosis
Treatment and management of osteoporosis may include physical therapy, which incorporates education and training in the following areas:
- Appropriate and safe weight-bearing activities to help promote bone formation or slow bone loss.
- Appropriate and safe exercises for:
- Posture - to maintain proper posture or prevent unwanted posture changes associated with osteoporosis.
- Flexibility - to maintain or improve flexibility and prevent muscle imbalances that may lead to stiffness and posture changes.
- Muscle strengthening - to help promote bone formation or slow bone loss.
- Correct body mechanics for activities of daily living to protect the spine and other vulnerable areas of the skeleton that are at risk for fracture.
- Fall prevention and safety to minimize the risk for a fracture. This may also involve balance training and training in use of a cane or walker to minimize the risk of a fall.
The most common areas of the skeleton for an osteoporotic fracture to occur are in the vertebral bodies of the mid- to lower-spine area, hip area and wrist. If an individual has sustained an osteoporotic fracture, the physical therapist can help with pain management, teach appropriate exercises and assist with return to functional independence.
Osteoporosis Treatment Team
Optimal management of osteoporosis involves a team of professionals including health care provider (such as your physician or nurse practitioner), dietician, physical therapist or pharmacist.