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The Silent Disease: Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis

By Abbey Fecher, DPT

Did you know that osteoporosis is known as the ‘Silent Disease’? Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, keeps too little bone or when both these things occur. It causes bones to weaken which increases the risk for fractures. Medical experts estimate that 54 million people in the United States have osteoporosis or low bone density. They say one in every two women and one in every four men over the age of 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis can affect any bone in body but the most common places we see it are the hip, which usually requires surgery to repair, the wrist and the spine. When it occurs in the spine, this can lead to postural problems.

What is posture? Posture is the position of your body when you are sitting or standing. When you are able to sit or stand in ‘normal’ postures, your body is in alignment:

  • Ears are over the shoulders
  • Ribs are over the hips
  • Hips are over the heels
  • Pelvis and spine are in a neutral position

What does poor standing posture look like? Some characteristics of poor posture include:

  • Forward head
  • Flat back
  • Rounded shoulders
  • Weak abdominal muscles
  • Sway back

Poor postures can cause quite a few short and long term health problems. These include restricted joint mobility, increased pain and discomfort (especially in the lower back and neck), headaches, decreased lung capacity, nerve compression and increased risk for falls and poor balance. If you are uncertain how good your posture is, try a quick self test.

Self Test for Postures: Wall Test

  1. Stand with the back of your head against a wall and your heels 6 inches from the base board.
  2. Keeping your buttocks against the wall, check the distance between your lower back and the wall as well as your neck and the wall.
  3. Your back should be 1 to 2 inches from the wall and your neck should be 2 inches from the wall.

How did you do? While osteoporosis is a very common condition, there are things you can do to combat it. Strengthening your bones is key. It’s important to incorporate weight-bearing exercises into your regular exercise routine. Try brisk walking, tai chi, yoga, dance or racket ball. Be sure to consult a medical professional before starting any new exercise routine. If you have osteoporosis in your spine, modify the yoga moves.

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, our clinicians can help you strengthen your bones, increase your mobility and help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center in Sterling, VA at 703-450-4300 TODAY and schedule your personalized evaluation with one of our physical therapists. Start your journey back to PAIN-FREE living!