This blog's topic is on osteoporosis, a condition that requires a lot of lifestyle modifications, but a lot can also be done to prevent it. Osteoporosis is one of many conditions, in my opinion, that requires the collaboration of a physical therapist and a registered dietitian for successful management. I will provide some links to the National Osteoporosis Foundation website, where you can get a lot of information on prevention, living with the condition, and who is at risk.
I had two encounters over this past week involving osteoporosis; the first was in a support group for individuals living with osteoporosis. The meeting began with a physical therapist and myself demonstrating the proper way to safely sit and stand from a chair. We emphasized the importance of avoiding lumbar flexion, due to the risk of spinal compression fractures for those with osteoporosis. The meeting was then led by a medical doctor, whose caseload includes numerous osteoporotic patients. The majority of the meeting was focused on medications and getting enough Calcium in their diet, but an individual asked about performing sit-ups. The medical doctor gave no warning to performing this activity and gave a "those are fine to do" response.
The second encounter was a patient evaluation, involving an individual with osteoporosis that was seeking a preventative program. The patient wanted to focus on building strength and avoiding bone breaks and falls. Following a brief history and examination, because this patient had no injuries or complaints, my clinical instructor and I moved onto educational information. The patient was shocked when told about the importance of avoiding particular movements, such as bending forward. The patient indicated never being told the precautions and modifications necessary when living with osteoporosis.
The bottom line is that the general public and even other medical professionals do not know how this condition affects a person's life, especially their movements. Maintaining strength, both of bones and muscles, performing safe movements, and eating an adequate diet are all crucial to living with osteoporosis and preventing the condition.
- Patrick Berner, SPT