Osteoporosis is a condition of decreased bone strength that increases a person’s risk for breaking a bone or fractures, as they call it. It is also considered by some as a public threat as it currently affects almost 60 million women and men in the United States, mostly in the age of 50 and up. Ways to treat osteoporosis that involve taking medications have already been previously tackled and discussed (Read our Treating Osteoporosis article for more info). Now we move to focus on the non-pharmacologic ways to improve bone health: bone health programs.
What people with osteoporosis need are exercises and classes for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, low bone mineral density, and fractures in order to affect positively the impairments, functional limitations, and disabilities of the disease as well as risk reduction, prevention and overall wellness.
What do most of these osteoporosis and bone health rehabilitation program involve anyway? After a thorough evaluation and development of a plan of care, treatment may consist of:
- Strengthening of site specific muscles including the back and hips
- Weight-bearing exercises
- Postural correction
- Body mechanics training
- Balance exercises for fall prevention
- Up-to date spinal fracture management
What type of recovery or outcome can I expect from osteoporosis and bone health rehabilitation program? Potential expected outcomes from participation in the certain osteoporosis and bone health rehabilitation programs include:
- Decreased Pain
- Improved Mobility
- Improved Posture
- Possible Bone Building/Reduction of Bone Loss
Most of these sessions also start with a bone safety evaluation that shows how osteoporosis affects everyday activities. Next, the physical therapist can choose to develop a custom-designed plan that involves a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, and education. Physical therapists then create exercise sessions to strengthen bones.
Therapists then may proceed to working with participants to reduce the risk of falls and teach balance retraining exercises. They also educate their participants about home safety, conserving energy during everyday tasks, and proper body mechanics to avoid falls injuries.
The maintenance phase of most of these programs focuses on maintaining and improving bone density. Exercises are developed to suit each unique participant which may strengthen muscles, increase bone density, and improve balance and mobility too. The instructors work with participants weekly on their exercises and show them exercises to do at home.
These bone health programs can definitely help prevent further bone loss. Interested in joining? Go see an orthopedic surgeon now or ask your nearby hospital if they have any of these.