As people age their bodies go through many changes, one of which is a change in their posture.
These postural changes are due to tightening muscle groups, decreased muscle tone and decreased bone strength. The National Institutes of Health defines osteoporosis as a systemic skeletal disorder with compromised bone strength that predisposes an individual to increased fracture risk. The most common fractures due to osteoporosis are of the wrist, hip and vertebral bodies, with the hip being the most disabling and life-threatening.
A bone density scan is completed to determine if you have osteoporosis. This scan will result in a measurement known as a T-score. If the T score is 0 to -1, the bone strength is normal; -1 to -2.4 equals osteopenia; -2.5 and below equals osteoporosis.
Osteoporosis can be managed with medication, diet and exercise:
• There are many medications on the market which can be taken daily, weekly, monthly and even once a year. Talk to your physician to determine if this is an option for you.
• A diet filled with various calcium-rich foods plays an important part in managing osteoporosis.
• Getting at least 20 minutes of sunlight a day helps your body produce Vitamin D, which aides in the absorption of calcium.
• An exercise program including a walking regimen and weight training program can help build bone density and increase postural muscle strength.
With a prescription from a physician, you can participate in a physical therapy osteoporosis program providing education about posture, body mechanics, fall prevention and specific exercise techniques.
The physical therapists at Martin Memorial are trained in the Meeks Method of exercise for patients with osteoporosis. This is a systematic, progressive exercise program specifically designed to unload and elongate the spine.
The benefit of the Meeks Method is that once you’ve received proper training from physical therapists, you can incorporate these techniques into your daily life and exercise regimen. Upon completion of skilled physical therapy, Martin Memorial offers memberships at our health and fitness centers with trainers to assist you with your management of osteoporosis.
For further information regarding our rehabilitation services osteoporosis program at Martin Memorial, please contact us at (772)223-2811.
--Cathy Sopotnick, MSPT