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Osteoporosis Physical Therapy – Information, Exercises, and More

Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis and you’re looking for more information on the disease. 


You’re curious if you’re more susceptible to getting osteoporosis and want to help prevent it from occurring, we’re here to help. 

We know how frustrating it can be when you’re searching for information and just can’t find what you’re looking for.

In this guide, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about osteoporosis — causes, symptoms, treatment options, and how osteoporosis physical therapy can help.


What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis means, “porous bone.”

Our bones are living, mineralized, tissue. As we age, our bones grow and change just like we do. 

But, when you have osteoporosis, your bone loss outpaces your bone growth. Your bones become weak and thin. They start to become fragile and can be fractured very easily — especially bones in the hip, spine, and wrist. 

Osteoporosis is sometimes referred to as the “silent disease” because you may not know you have it until after you’ve fractured a bone. 

It is also commonly confused with arthritis and other bone-related diseases.

What Causes Osteoporosis?

Researchers have an idea of how osteoporosis develops, but it’s unclear why it develops.

Some of the likely causes of osteoporosis include: 

  • Certain medical conditions — like thyroid problems, kidney disease, intestinal problems
  • Use of certain medicines — long-term use of corticosteroids 
  • A decrease in hormonesestrogen and testosterone play a large part in bone growth
  • Smoking and alcohol usage — chemicals in cigarettes make it harder for your body to absorb calcium, as does excessive alcohol usage.

Medications That Increase Risk of Osteoporosis

If used for long periods (over several years), some medications may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis. 

Some of these medications include: 

  • Steroids such as prednisone and cortisone can increase the breakdown of bone and slow down the building of new bone. 
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPI) increase your risk of developing osteoporosis because they prevent the intestines from absorbing sufficient amounts of calcium. 
  • Cancer therapies and treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are known to cause bone loss in patients.

Many different medications can increase the risk of osteoporosis, many of which are life-sustaining medicines. You should always speak with your doctor before you stop taking medicines that may cause the disease.

Osteoporosis Symptoms

Although people living with osteoporosis often aren’t aware that they have the disease until they have a bone fracture, there are some symptoms patients may notice. 

They include: 

  • Backache
  • A slow loss of height 
  • Stooped posture
  • Fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine

Osteoporosis Treatment

Osteoporosis is irreversible, but there are treatment options available to help manage the disease. After being diagnosed, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments:

  • MedicationsBisphosphonates are commonly prescribed because they keep the body from breaking down bone — but other medications may be prescribed by your doctor as well. 
  • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) — HRT can help preserve the bones in your body and reduce the risks of fractures in postmenopausal women, but also comes with risks. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks of HRT
  • Vitamin supplements — a vitamin D or vitamin C supplement may be prescribed with other medications to maximize effectiveness
  • Physical therapy — learning how to properly exercise and make lifestyle changes plays an important role in combating the pain caused by osteoporosis. Exercising can help strengthen bones. 
  • Diet — eating a nutrient-rich diet (specifically in vitamins D and K, as well as calcium) can help strengthen bones.


Can Physical Therapy Help Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis physical therapy treatment is an effective non-surgical option.  

Working with a Doctor of Physical Therapy can restore healthy function, movement, and bone strength. 

They will help you with certain lifestyle changes to decrease the risk of having an osteoporosis-related fracture, such as:

  • Proper posture and alignment during daily activities
  • Improving your balance to reduce the risk of falling
  • Adjusting your environment to protect your bone health; and
  • Exercises to help build bone density and decrease bone loss

A physical therapist will develop a specific program based on your individual needs that will help keep your bones healthy and avoid fractures.

Best Physical Therapy Exercises for Osteoporosis

Physical therapy for osteoporosis involves a lot of exercises to maintain bone strength. The exercises are specifically designed to help build bones and to slow the loss of bone. It’s very specific and similar, no matter the patient’s age.

Bone will grow when it’s properly and sufficiently stressed. There are two types of osteoporosis physical therapy exercises that most PTs recommend as part of a treatment plan: 

  1. Muscle strengthening; and
  2. Weight-bearing

Muscle Strengthening Exercises

Resistance exercises are commonly recommended to osteoporosis sufferers to help prevent more bone loss by strengthening the muscles and bones. Some of these exercises include:

  • Lifting weights
  • Exercising with resistance bands
  • Lifting your own body weight

Weight-Bearing Exercises

Weight-bearing exercises force you to move against gravity. They help build and strengthen your bones. 

Some of the most commonly recommended weight-bearing exercises for osteoporosis include: 

  • Dance
  • Tennis
  • Jumping Rope
  • Hiking
  • Jogging/Running
  • Aerobics

Yoga and pilates may also be helpful to improve balance, strength, and flexibility, but certain positions may not be safe for osteoporosis sufferers and can increase the risk of fracturing a bone. 

Doing these exercises 2-3 times a week per your physical therapist’s approval can help improve your osteoporosis symptoms.

Your physical therapist can walk you through which exercises are safe and appropriate for your specific situation. 

Osteoporosis Physical Therapy Treatment for a Fracture

If you have experienced a fracture as a result of your osteoporosis, your PT will work with you to:

  • Decrease your pain through pain-relieving modalities such as positioning
  • Strengthen your muscles and improve postural alignment to help prevent a fall
  • Avoid or limit water or endurance exercises that could negatively affect bone density
  • Avoid or limit exercises that involve too much twisting or forward and side bending
  • Provide external devices, such as braces, to improve posture and promote healing

If pain persists for more than six weeks after a fracture, you may need to discuss surgical options with your doctor. However, surgery can sometimes be avoided through diligent and proper osteoporosis physical therapy.

How In Motion O.C. Can Help With Osteoporosis Physical Therapy

If you’ve been diagnosed with osteoporosis, it may feel like there’s no way to find the relief you’ve been searching for. 

But there is hope. 

In Motion O.C. has helped hundreds of patients overcome their symptoms of osteoporosis, and we can help you too. 

Our highly trained Doctors of Physical Therapy can help you learn how to change your lifestyle to maintain healthy bone growth. 

As the number one Physical Therapist in the United States according to Yelp! and Google, we are committed to providing the best care to each and every patient who walks through our door. 

Don’t live with the pain of osteoporosis any longer — schedule your free consultation today to see if osteoporosis physical therapy is the right treatment plan for you. 

In Motion O.C.