If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, do not despair. Millions of individuals with this condition live healthy, productive lives. As long as you work with a physical therapist and take the right precautions, you can experience a renewed awareness of movement and function.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which the amount of calcium and minerals in the bone decreases, leading to a reduction in bone density. As a result, bones become fragile and prone to fractures. A fracture can occur from a minor fall or simple actions like sneezing or bumping into furniture.
Treatment for osteoporosis may involve calcium supplements, prescription medication, and supervised exercise. Physical therapy plays an important role in maintaining quality of life for patients with osteoporosis, and for good reason. Muscles and tendons can be strengthened to provide a protective effect for bones. Although it cannot be cured, the rate of progression of osteoporosis can be decreased with physical therapy and medication.
Here are some important factors to consider when living with osteoporosis:
1. Dietary measures: A diet rich in calcium and vitamin D provides the body with important minerals that form the building blocks of bones. Your physician and dietitian may recommend other dietary habits for improvement in overall health.
2. Weight-bearing exercises: Always seek approval from a physician before starting any exercise program, especially if have been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Simple exercises like walking and climbing up a flight of stairs are beneficial. A physical therapist will prescribe an exercise program tailored to the needs of the patient.
3. Muscle strengthening exercises: Supervised weight training helps improve muscle strength. A physical therapist may recommend the use of tools such as elastic bands, free weights, and exercise equipment. Patients are also encouraged to use their own body weight to perform a number of exercises.
4. Core stabilization exercises: These exercises improve posture and balance. They help in the prevention of falls, injuries, and fractures. Yoga and Pilates are examples of exercise used to improve posture and balance. All exercises should be done under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist to ensure your safety as you improve your overall physical health.
Physical therapy can improve balance, increase strength and reduce the incidence of falls. Ask your physical therapist for precautions about movement, lifting, and injury prevention. In the unfortunate event that you do experience a fracture, your physical therapist is uniquely qualified to help you in the recovery process. The use of assistive walking devices (cane, walker) may be suggested by your physical therapist.
Don’t allow fear of injury to hold you back. Talk to a physical therapist and learn about the differences between safe and unsafe exercise. A physical therapist can assist you in returning to your normal hobbies and daily activities at home or in the community. A new world of freedom and independence awaits you. We are here to help you improve your life with the benefits of physical therapy.
Dr. Anne Lamb has more than 40 years of experience as a physical therapist and 20+ years as a business owner of In Touch Physical Therapy. She worked in the Metro area for ten years during which time she designed and opened two new clinics, and expanded Fridley’s Noran Neurological Clinic. Dr. Lamb moved to Owatonna in 1993, and worked at HealthReach in Albert Lea, before beginning In Touch Physical Therapy in November, 1996. She has been very involved in federal and local advocacy. Since 2003, Dr. Lamb has traveled to Washington, D.C. every year to meet with legislators to work on Medicare legislation. She continues to work on repealing the Medicare cap, so clients have the right to physical therapy in a private practice facility. Anne enjoys spending time with her four adult children and two grandchildren. Travel and various athletic activities, including yearly triathlons.