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Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease, so what can physical therapy do?

Quite a lot, actually.

Exercise and physical activity can help strengthen muscles and bones, as well as improve balance, coordination and flexibility. That’s all important for people who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, as well as for adults who are at risk for the disease.

Osteoporosis is a metabolic disease that reduces the amount of bony tissue in the body, actually leading to thinning of the bones. There are two prevalent types: Type 1 is found in postmenopausal women who produce less estrogen, leading to bone being broken down in the body.

The second kind, Type 2, is usually age-related and often due to low levels of calcium. As the body naturally ages, it becomes much less efficient at absorbing calcium, affecting the bones.

Reduced physical activity can exasperate the issues already faced by one with osteoarthritis. So building and maintaining bone density are important to keep the bones healthy.

Besides drinking a lot of milk and getting a little sunshine, what can someone with osteoporosis do? Answer: Exercise.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the best exercises for helping bones are weight-bearing exercise, such as simple walking, and muscle-strengthening exercise, like weight lifting. Low-impact, weight-bearing exercises like aerobics, and using a stair-step machine or elliptical training machine can be beneficial. A simple walking program can increase bone mineral density in the spine and hip.

Non-impact activities such as balance and posture exercises can also be hugely beneficial, helping to increase strength and decrease the risk of falls and fractures. There are exercises that can be geared to those with physical limitations, and those that can help address fractures of the spine that are often associated with osteoporosis.

There’s no single exercise regimen that fits everyone with osteoporosis, however. So a physical therapist can help tailor an exercise plan based on the individual. The physical therapist will look at everything from the current level of physical activity strength to gait and balance before coming up with a plan.

Although osteoporosis can’t be cured, physical therapy can help it from becoming worse.

Many of the physical therapists at Tidewater Physical Therapy Inc. hold Direct Access Certification through the Virginia Board of Physical Therapy allowing them to evaluate and treat patients without a prescription.    As part of your healthcare team, a physical therapist will make an assessment of your condition and create a plan to start you on the road to wellness.  Our team will communicate with your physician of record and obtain a referral, if necessary, for your continued treatment.  We will also work with your insurance carrier to make sure services are covered by your plan. To make your own appointment, find a clinic near you.