Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a disease that affects an individual’s bone density. This disease is characterized by the loss of bone tissue and low bone mass. Individuals that have osteoporosis have weakened and fragile bones which can increase the risk of bone fractures. The most fracture-prone areas on the body for individuals with osteoporosis are major joints or bones such as the wrist, hip, and vertebrae of the spine. Physical therapy can help maintain strength and stamina as well as increase overall bone and joint health. Aside from physical therapy, there are every day exercises and activities to help prevent and manage the effects of osteoporosis.

Exercise Types:

  • Weight-bearing exercises: this helps increase endurance and muscle tone
    • Walking on treadmills or outside
    • Climbing stairs
    • Dancing
    • Hiking
  • Strengthening exercises: this increases strength as well as stability
    • Weight load does NOT have to be heavy
      • It can be as simple as 2 lbs – 8 lbs.
    • Use lighter ankle and wrist weights
  • Loading exercises: this improves strength, stability, and bone density
    • Place weight loads on specific body regions
    • Focus on hip and spine, arms and shoulders

If you are over the age of 50, consider getting a bone density test or Dexa Scan (DXA scan). This will help determine the risk level of osteoporosis as well as understand your current bone mass or density. This scan also helps to establish the content and quality of the minerals within your bones.