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Osteoporosis: Building Stronger Bones

Exercise is important for everyone. Despite your impairments, injury, or pathology, finding a safe, pain free means to exercise should pave the road to wellness. Too often we put off our exercise plans to tomorrow or next week, allowing our dumbbells and resistance bands to collect dust. We’re seeing a shift in healthcare to preventative, more conservative medicine. A top the list for treatment and prevention is exercise. Movement and exercise has long been the choice for living a long and healthy life, whether your find yourself staying active through hobbies (gardening) or dedicated exercise (walking, weights, running, etc). Osteoporosis, a condition that affects bone strength, is one of many conditions that’s treated through targeted exercise.

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a preventable, treatable disease process that decreases bone strength and makes one more susceptible to bone fractures. Although we lose bone density as we age, osteoporosis is not normal in the aging process.

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As healthy bone ages, there is a normal process in which older bone breaks down and is replaced with new bone. Under normal conditions, the bone resorption equals bone building; however, at its simplest level, osteoporosis equates to an imbalance where the breakdown process exceeds new bone growth. The end result equates to weak and brittle bones that may fracture with traumatic (falls) and non-traumatic (bending) events. Unfortunately, osteoporosis often goes unnoticed until an unfortunate fall or fracture. It’s important to review this with your primary care physician, particularly for women.

Osteoporosis itself is a painless disease process. Symptoms may develop in the latter stages once secondary pathologies develop, including: low back pain or compression fractures. Postural imbalances typically result. Visualized as a stooped, flexed posture, osteoporotic women will likely notice height loss over time.

Everyone, particularly post-menopausal females, should discuss osteoporosis with their primary care physician. Early menopause, a history of corticosteroids use, and family history can all put you at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

Fast Facts on Osteoporosis:

  • 10 million Americans are diagnosed with Osteoporosis: 8 million females and 2 million males.
  • 1 in 2 females over 50 will have an osteoporotic related fracture in their lifetime.
  • In 2005, 2 millions fractures were related to Osteoporosis- mostly spine fractures.
  • Two-thirds of patients with a hip fracture do not return to their prior level of function.
  • 90% of a female’s bone mass is acquired by age 18 with peak bone mass at 30 years old!

A Focus on Prevention:

Bone density declines as we age; however, we can encourage our bodies to build more and directly influence the imbalance between bone resorption and building more bone. Proper nutrition, supplements, medications, and great posture may all play a part in helping you treat your osteoporosis, but the root of all prevention and treatment programs is weight bearing exercise. Every osteoporosis treatment and medication should be paired with exercise. Our bones respond to stimulus and improve their strength based on demands. If we use our muscles, particularly in standing, the force of gravity paired with the pull of muscle, encourage our bones to maintain their strength. Supply must meet demand. Not exercising? Your bones will meet the limited, sedentary bone strength demand.

There are certain guidelines you should follow when dealing with your Osteoporosis. We can teach you the most effective exercises to improve your bone health when dealing with osteoporosis and educate you on the exercises you may want to avoid and limit with your gym routines.

If you would like to learn more about Osteoporosis, including: proper Posture, Nutrition, Supplements, Medications, Bone Density Testing, and of course appropriate Exercises, click the link below to schedule your free discovery visit with a physical therapist at Buffalo Rehab Group.



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