How Physiotherapy Can Help with Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a condition that causes weakening of the bones. It is a progressive disease that will worsen if left untreated or not identified. In older females Osteoporosis is more common. This is due to lower estrogen levels post menopause and increased bone loss. As a result of flexion and rotational type movements and poor postures, the risk of fractures with falls is increased. In Osteoporosis it is the arm, hip, spine and wrist bones that are most commonly fractured.
Measuring bone density can be completed using a scan. The future risk of fracture can be predicted using this information. Diagnosis of osteoporosis is given if the score is below -2.5.
In the management and treatment of Osteoporosis, Physiotherapy has been shown to be effective. It assists in pain management strategies, improves posture and balance, and strengthens muscles and bones.
Lifting weights and lower impact exercise can in fact decrease the risk of fracture by increasing bone strength. Many people with osteoporosis are fearful of doing strength and other strenuous exercise.A load larger than normal must be exposed for any physiological system to improve its function. On a day to day basis the skeleton must meet forces greater than those it sustains to improve strength. To improve overall stability and strength, your physiotherapist will design an appropriate exercise program. This will reduce the risk of falls and fall-related fractures as the exercise will lead to stronger bones and muscles.
Through co-ordination and balance exercises physiotherapy also helps in reducing falls risk. When walking around hazards, through narrow spaces or walking on unstable surfaces these exercises help improve balance. Patients when challenged by external stimuli will be able to maintain their balance.
Through strengthening and gentle range of motion exercises physiotherapist’s also aim to improve overall posture. Gradual fractures of the thoracic vertebra and wedging of the vertebra is due to the increased flexion through the thoracic spine. The condition will worsen with poor posture. Upper back and core strength can be increased with the help of exercise in turn helping with maintaining a good posture.
For all those who are suffering from Osteoporosis there is no single exercise regimen. Based on a medical evaluation of muscle strength, fracture risk, level of physical activity, range of motion, gait, fitness, and balance each regimen for the individual patient should be specially tailored.
In re-enablement and assessment physiotherapist’s have specialist skills. To prevent falls, reduce fear of falling, boost self confidence, improve balance, and promote healthy and active lifestyles, they can provide evidence-based advice programmes, education and exercise.