The word osteoporosis comes from the Greek words for “porous bones.” It occurs when bones lose an excessive amount of their protein and mineral content, particularly calcium. Over time, bone mass, and therefore bone strength, is decreased.
As a result, bones become fragile and break easily. Fractures, which are often the first sign of the disease, can affect any bone, but the most common locations are the hip, spine, and wrist. Osteoporosis is more common after menopause, when bone-protecting estrogen is considerably decreased.
There are many interventions for osteoporosis. Physical therapy plays a key role in helping individuals decrease some of the risk factors for fractures. This includes weight bearing exercises to help stimulate bone growth, balance retraining to prevent falls, posture and body mechanics, and neuromuscular re-education to improve the efficiency of the musculoskeletal system. Prevention and staying active is a great way to proactively manage osteoporosis.
National Osteoporosis Foundation
International Osteoporosis Foundation
American Physical Therapy Association’s Guide to Osteoporosis