> Fractures > Osteoporosis Physiotherapy
Osteoporosis is a common disease that causes a thinning and weakening of
the bones (the bones becomes thinner and more porous, which makes it mechanically weaker as well).
It can affect people of any age. Women have the greatest
risk of developing the disease, although it also occurs in men.
Osteoporosis affects 55% of Americans aged 50 or older; one-half of
women and a quarter of men will fracture a bone as a result of low bone
density (osteopenia) or osteoporosis.
Thin bones are the cause of 1.5
million fractures per year in the United States; just hip fractures alone
result in 300,000 hospitalizations.
It is important to diagnosis low
bone density or osteoporosis early so that steps can be taken to rebuild
bone strength and lessen the risk of fracture.
first of all, What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is a bone disease characterized by
- low bone density
(thickness of the bone)
- decreased bone strength
- and a change in the
- which can lead to an increased risk of fracture.
normal bone structure becomes thinned out and porous with poor
nutrition, aging, or when osteoporosis develops, lessening the ability
of the bone to withstand the typical forces that are applied in everyday
Fractures from low bone density and osteoporosis can be
serious, causing pain and affecting quality of life.
Our bones are living tissue.
Normally, one type of cell removes bone and
another type of cell adds bone in a balanced, ongoing process. However in the case of osteoporosis, bones weaken when not enough new bone is formed and/or too
much bone is lost.
This imbalance commonly begins in women during the
first 5 years of menopause.
That being said, it can also occur in men and in
children, often due to diseases that affect bone development, such as
- celiac disease
- inflammatory bowel disease
- rheumatoid arthritis
- cystic fibrosis
- kidney disease
Some medicines, such as
steroids, may increase the risk of developing osteoporosis. Athletes who
are underweight during the time of peak bone development are also
There are many factors that can cause a person to be at risk for
developing osteoporosis. It is important to know your risks so that you
can be diagnosed and proactive in your treatment.
Risk Factors for Osteoporosis
- Female gender
- Small frame
- Advanced age
- Hormone levels
- Predisposing medical conditions
- Cigarette smoking
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Inactive lifestyle
- Excessive caffeine intake
- Lack of weight-bearing exercise
- Drugs (eg, steroids, heparin)
- Poor health
- Low weight
- Calcium-poor diet
- Low vitamin D levels
How Does osteoporosis Feel like?
Osteoporosis is a disease that can be "silent" ie the patient can be totally unaware of it.
There may be no
outward symptoms until a fracture occurs. If you are middle-aged or
older, you may notice a loss of height or the appearance of a humpback. You may also begin to experience pain between your shoulder blades or above the crest of the pelvis.
People with low bone density may experience fractures in everyday
situations that would not occur in persons with healthy bones, such as
breaking a hip or a breaking their wrist with a fall from a standing height, breaking a
rib when opening a window or when receiving a hug, or breaking an ankle
after stepping off a curb.
These are called fragility fractures
and are a red flag for bone disease.
Spinal compression fractures,
particularly those in the upper back or thoracic spine (area between the
neck and the lower back), are the most common fractures, followed by
hip and wrist fractures.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you see our senior physiotherapists for back pain or other
rehabilitation issues (or if you have wrist fractures, you may see our senior hand therapists), we will review your
- hormonal history
- conduct a complete
and determine your risk factors for osteoporosis. The assessment may lead us to recommend further
Osteoporosis is best diagnosed through a quick and painless
specialized X-ray called the DXA, which measures bone density. The
results are reported using T-scores and Z-scores.
- The T-score compares your score to that of healthy 30-year-old
adults. If you have a T-score of -1 or less, you have a greater risk of
having a fracture.
- If the T-score is -2.5 or less you will receive the diagnosis of osteoporosis.
- The Z-score compares your bone mineral density to those of the same
sex, weight, and age. It is used for those whose bone mass has not yet
peaked, premenopausal women, and men older than 50.
Other methods of measuring bone density include
how our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists can help you
We can develop a specific program based on your
individual needs to help improve your overall bone health, keep your
bones healthy, and help you avoid fracture.
- Specific exercises to build bone or decrease the amount of bone loss
- Proper posture to protect your spine from fracture
- Proper alignment during activities of daily living
- How to improve your balance so as to reduce your risk of falling
- How to adjust your environment to protect your bone health
Healthy bone is built and maintained through a healthy lifestyle. We will teach you specific exercises to meet your
The exercise component for bone building or slowing bone loss is very
specific and similar for all ages. Bone grows when it is sufficiently
and properly stressed, just as muscle grows when challenged by more than
usual weight. Two types of exercise are optimal for bone health: weight-bearing and resistance.
Our senior physiotherapists will provide you individualized
bone-building prescription to ensure that you are neither overexercising
nor underexercising. Typically, exercises are performed 2 to 3 times a
week as part of an overall fitness program.
- Jogging (if your bone density is higher than -3.0)
- Racquet sports
- Heel drops
- Weight lifting in proper spine and lower-extremity alignment
- Use of exercise bands
- Gravity resistance (eg, push-ups, prone trunk extension with cushion
to protect lowest ribs, single-leg heel raises, squats, lunges,
sustained standing yoga poses in neutral spine position)
- Exercises that reduce or stabilize kyphosis (hunchback)
- Balance exercises
If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or low bone density, we will work with you to:
- Build bone or lessen the amount of bone loss at areas most vulnerable to fracture through exercise—hip, spine, shoulder, arms.
- Improve your dynamic balance to avoid falls.
- Improve your posture.
- Adjust your work and living environments to limit risk.
- Help you avoid exercises and movements that may contribute to spinal
fracture, including any type of sit-up or crunch, and excessive spinal
or hip twisting.
Conservative treatment of a fracture includes bed rest and
appropriate pain treatment. Our senior physical therapists will work with you
- Decrease your pain through positioning and other pain-relieving
modalities. Individualized physical therapist regimens can help reduce
pain without the need for medications, such as opioids.
- Provide appropriate external devices, such as bracing, to promote healing and improve posture.
- Decrease your risk of a fall, strengthen your muscles, and improve your postural alignment.
- Avoid exercises that involve too much forward or side bending or twisting.
- Avoid water or endurance exercises, as they have been shown to negatively affect bone density.
If your pain lasts longer than 6 weeks following a spinal fracture,
you can consider and discuss surgical options, such as vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty,
with us, your primary care physician, and orthopedic surgeon.
Children and adolescents
educate families and youth groups on proper exercise and posture, and
about the need to move daily to build bone strength and prevent bone
loss. Children with health issues such as
- spina bifida
- Crohn's disease
- cerebral palsy
at a greater risk for bone
disease and can particularly benefit from the guidance of our senior
physiotherapists. Proper physical conditioning is crucial for children
adolescents: the majority of bone is built during adolescence and peaks
by the third decade of life.
Middle-aged and older adults
As people age, they
may begin to notice postural, balance, and strength changes. We work with middle-aged and older adults to:
- Develop individualized exercise programs to promote bone growth or lessen bone loss
- Improve dynamic balance to avoid falls
- Improve posture
- Improve the strength of back muscles
- Improve hip strength and mobility
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Phoenix Rehab physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist
physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly
trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of
expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
HAND THERAPY & SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, and requires Hand Therapy to increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations as well as custom made hand splints.
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on
- core stability
- flexibility and
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to
- accelerate recovery and
- shorten downtime / recovery period required
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
Done regularly, it will keeps your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence. Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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