If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, you may be wondering if it’s possible for them to still get physiotherapy.
WHAT EXACTLY IS OSTEOPOROSIS?
Osteoporosis affects over 10 million Americans, and another 34 million are at high risk for developing it. Osteoporosis is a disease that results in low bone mass which makes the bones more fragile. Because osteoporosis causes no symptoms until a fracture, many people are unaware they have it. Most people with osteoporosis are over 50 years old, although it can occur at any age. So what puts you at risk for developing osteoporosis?
RISK FACTORS FOR OSTEOPOROSIS
Age: Bone mass stops increasing when you are in your early 20s. After that, your body is fighting a losing battle to maintain the bone mass you have. Therefore, the older you are, the more at risk you are for developing osteoporosis.
Gender: Women are more likely to develop osteoporosis than men because women’s bones are less dense than men’s bones. Also, hormone changes with menopause speed up bone loss in women. Low-weight and petite-framed women are at an even higher risk for developing osteoporosis.
Family History: Having a mother or grandmother with osteoporosis increases your risk for developing osteoporosis.
Lifestyle: Getting little weight-bearing exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, and low calcium intake all increase your risk for osteoporosis.
Menopause: Early menopause and missed periods due to an eating disorder or excessive exercise increase your risk for osteoporosis.
Since Physiotherapy is so specific and gentle, it is safe for individuals who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia. We do gentle mobilizations of the spine then provide a strengthening and stretching program to help maintain an upright posture, and prevent further kyphosis or forward bend of the spine as you age. Rest assured that your Physiotherapist is specifically trained to deliver a completely safe and gentle spinal treatment plan.
The best prevention is to build strong bones as a child. By the time most people are worried about osteoporosis, it is too late to build more bone mass. However, if there are children in your life, now is the time to make sure they are getting plenty of calcium (500-800mg/day) and enough exercise to help them build strong bones so they have a lower risk later in their life.
Top 4 “must do’s” for ADULTs to maintain good BONE HEALTH:
- 1Make sure you are getting enough calcium and vitamin D each day. While calcium and vitamin D come from the food you eat, taking a supplement is often necessary. You need 1200mg of calcium and 800 IU of vitamin D each day.
- 2Weight-bearing exercise is essential to maintaining bone mass. The more your bones are used with exercise, the stronger they stay. A weight-bearing exercise routine can be as simple as walking followed by a series of arm exercises with 5lb hand weights.
- 3Avoiding excessive alcohol intake and not smoking helps to prevent bone loss.
- 4Having bone density testing to find out your bone mass is very important. All women over 65 and women under 65 with one or more risk factors should have a bone density test to assess their bone mass.