Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis can create a variety of challenges for older adults. Fortunately, there are a variety of medical interventions, including physical therapy, that can help alleviate any additional discomfort while also helping to strengthen muscles and bones to prevent further decay. 

Suppose you are experiencing the onset of osteoporosis or wish to prevent symptoms from worsening. In that case, this guide will help you to gain a better understanding of what osteoporosis is and what are the benefits of physical therapy for osteoporosis. If you struggle to know when to go to physical therapy, check out the following guide for an osteoporosis-specific perspective.

What is Osteoporosis?

A simple definition of osteoporosis is when bone tissue is not replaced at the same rate that it is lost and subsequently causes bones to be weak and brittle. Weakened bone increases the risk of fracturing or breaking bones if someone with osteoporosis falls or is struck and can also lead to postural deformities because of weakened bone.

There are various contributing factors and potential causes of osteoporosis. Insufficient calcium and vitamin D can lead to increased bone loss, as can excessive dieting. Caucasian and Asian women who have gone through menopause are more likely to develop osteoporosis, while thin, older women also have a greater chance of developing this condition. 

Certain medications, such as glucocorticoids, antiepileptic drugs, and SSRIs for depression, have also increased bone loss. Those with a family history of osteoporosis and those suffering from such conditions as rheumatoid arthritis, gastrointestinal disease, and certain types of cancer can also experience symptoms.

The challenge of osteoporosis is that it is referred to as a “silent disease” because there are no painful indicators until someone breaks a bone. Some indicators include changes in posture or limb weakness, but it is only when a bone is broken or fractured that a diagnosis can be made. Those with osteoporosis are at greater risk of fracturing or breaking a bone more efficiently, prompting medical attention.

The Benefits of Osteoporosis Physical Therapy

Physical therapists provide various benefits concerning diagnosing, treating, and managing osteoporosis. When a patient arrives for physical therapy, a physical therapist will undergo an entire clinical evaluation that will consider family history, medications, exercise habits, medical history, and hormonal changes. These factors will help determine if there are any indications that a patient may exhibit signs of bone loss or has developed osteoporosis.

After evaluating the patient’s medical information, a physical therapist will use a variety of diagnostic measures. A DXA or bone density scan provides direct insight into how dense a patient’s bones are and how much bone has been lost. Because this procedure is non-invasive and simple, it is the default means of diagnosing osteoporosis.

A person’s injured shoulder is shown through an x-ray

Results are reported in T scores and Z scores. A T score compares bone density to a young adult of the same gender with optimal bone mass. A Z score corresponds to your bone density to the bone density of other people of the same age, gender, and size. These scores help to indicate the extent of bone loss, with patients showing scores of 2.5 and below for a T score indicating osteoporosis. Physical therapists can also use X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasound to diagnose osteoporosis.

When a diagnosis of osteoporosis has been established, and the extent of bone loss is determined, a physical therapist can create a tailored exercise plan to help reverse bone loss and strengthen bones. Physical therapists will prescribe exercises that include weightlifting, resistance band exercises, calisthenics such as pushups and squats, weight-bearing exercises such as walking or yoga, and postural exercises. 

A physical therapist can help create a plan tailored to your specific bone density that is sufficiently strenuous to promote bone regeneration while also not overexerting. Beyond helping to replenish bone mass, a proper recovery plan can help patients improve balance, reduce pain and strengthen muscles to prevent falls and improve overall health.

Call Mid-County Physical Therapy

If you are looking for a physical therapist, it’s essential to find the right physical therapist to help you treat your osteoporosis. Make sure to find a board-certified physical therapist who specializes in treating osteoporosis. We offer physical therapy in Manassas Park, VA, as well as physical therapy in Dale City, VA. Consider these campuses for the care you need.

Feel free to interview your physical therapist before starting sessions and ask pertinent questions to ensure they are willing to help you recover. If you’re looking for a physical therapist for osteoporosis, contact us so we can create an osteoporosis physical therapy plan that will get you back on your feet and moving!


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