Osteoporosis: The Silent Disease


An insidious and silent disease, osteoporosis does not manifest in the early stages. It has no signs or symptoms until a serious injury or fracture occurs. You may not know you have the disease until a small bump or fall causes you to break a bone.

Physical TherapistOsteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose calcium and become “porous”. This makes the bone more susceptible to breakage. Bone begins to break down quickly and does not regenerate at a sufficient pace. If you smoke cigarettes and are over 50 years of age, have a diet low in calcium, or are a woman with early menopause, your risk of osteoporosis increases.  Addressing these risk factors are a major portion of osteoporosis treatment
Why is it called silent?
The physical manifestations of osteoporosis are not evident In the early stages. Sometimes, you may experience a dull bone or muscle pain in the low back or neck, which escalates to sharp, nagging pain lasting for months. As it progresses, bones become weaker, and your risk for a fracture increases. Bones in the wrist, hip, and spine are most commonly fractured in individuals with this disease.
  • Osteoporosis affects an estimated 75 million people in Europe, USA and Japan.

Osteoporosis – General Facts and Statistics.

  • Worldwide, osteoporosis causes more than 8.9 million fractures annually, resulting in an osteoporotic fracture approximately every 3 seconds.
  • Osteoporosis: a public health concern and affects over 200 million women worldwide. Approximately 10% aged 60, 20% aged 70, 40% aged 80 and over 66% aged 90.
  • At least 1 in 3 women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, & least 1 in 5 men.
  •  Overall, 61% of osteoporotic fractures occur in women, with a female-to-male ratio of 1.6, so even though women are affected primarily, men also should be aware.
  • Nearly 75% of hip, spine and distal forearm fractures occur among patients 65 years old or over.
  • A 10% loss of bone mass in the vertebrae can double the risk of vertebral fractures. Also, a 10% loss of bone mass in the hip can result in a 2.5 times greater risk of hip fracture.

More Hard Truth /  More Facts..

  • osteoporosisAbout 85-90% of total bone mass is achieved by age 18 in girls and age 20 in boys.
  • Think prevention: build strong bones from childhood. Preventive measures for kids can help prevent osteoporosis later in life.
  • 80% of patients with osteoporosis are women.  20% are men.
  • Osteoporosis can strike at any age. But, the older you are, the greater your risks.Those who are sedentary or on bed rest for a while have higher risks.
  • Smoking or drinking alcohol excessively limits calcium absorption, which increases your risk for osteoporosis. Therefore limiting smoking and drinking should be a key component of osteoporosis treatment.
  • By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and 240% in women.
  • In women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases. Including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer
Prevention is Key

Physical Therapist

The key to keeping your bones healthy is: Eat right, exercise, stop smoking and don’t drink alcohol excessively.
Nutrition & Eating Right is important: Proper intake of calcium and vitamin D as part of your osteoporosis treatment can help make your bones strong. You can find a calcium with vitamin D supplement right here in in our clinic.  We have a full time nutritionist on site.  http://www.idealdietsarasota.com/

The case for exercise:

Exercise as osteoporosis treatment not only helps build muscle and endurance, it also builds and maintains bone density so it is ENCOURAGED to combat Osteoporosis.
Two types of exercise for osteoporosis treatment are:
  • Weight-bearing: These include anything that requires you to bear weight through your arms or legs such as: walking, dancing, stair climbing, or even doing arm chair push-ups. Most experts recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5X a week.  Our Therapists are the experts in developing customized programs which involve both weight bearing and resistance exercises for osteoporosis treatment.
  • Resistance (this includes using resistance bands or lifting weights). This has shown to reduce risk of fractures and increase bone mass.
As you age, concerns about performing the right types of exercise grow. Especially if you already have medical conditions such as osteoporosis.  If you have never been physically active you can choose from a range of safe exercise options prescribed by your physical therapist.  We make osteoporosis treatment easy.  It’s time for a solid decision to strengthen and shape your bones.

Guidelines for safe exercise:

  • Talk to your physician and consult your therapist before beginning any exercise program for osteoporosis treatment. This is especially important if you know you have bone loss or osteoporosis.
  • If you already have osteoporosis, be careful of exercises that involve bending and twisting at the waist. These motions can put brittle bones at risk.
  • Avoid high-impact exercises (like running and jumping)- they put more stress on your spine, and may even lead to fractures in weakened bones
Call us at (941) 925-2700 before choosing any of these activities to make sure you have an exercise plan that’s safe and effective for your bone health and current physical condition. Depending on your needs, we can create a customized written program that combines postural strengthening, balance training and bone strengthening to provide you with an ideal program. We know what it takes to build strong, healthy bones for individuals of all ages and look forward to working with you.
Call or email us today for more information.


About the Author Tim Burnell, PT

Tim Burnell is the Lead Physical Therapist at Back In Motion Sarasota. He has over two decades of clinical experience. He takes pride in getting to the root of the problem which helps get his clients better...Faster! He is a family man & enjoys spending time with the love of his life, Monique. He has 2 children & a dog named Annie. Tim's son, Andre' is 11 years old and his daughter Joliebelle (nicknamed Pooky) is 7 years old. He enjoys visiting his wife's side of the family in New Orleans and his side of the family in Vermont. Tim grew up in Vermont, went to Physical Therapy School in Alabama, got his first job at Tulane Hospital in New Orleans and moved to Sarasota Florida after Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

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