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Osteoporosis is a condition where bones gradually decrease in mass or density making
bones weaker and brittle. This process is progressive in many cases and can lead to
bone breaks (fractures) and disability if not treated. Women are more commonly affected
by this condition following menopause because of hormonal changes. However, anyone
of advanced age likely has some degree of bone density loss and can benefit from
treatment such as a structured exercise program. Osteoporosis is often caused by a
combination of factors including suboptimal nutrition (especially in the 20’s when bone
is building), hormone production, and activity level. Bone density is maximal during
the late 20’s and early 30’s and then gradually decreases with age. Other conditions
such as hyperthyroidism, hyperparathyroidism and hypogonadism can cause hormonal
abnormalities speeding up bone loss. Certain medications have also been associated
with osteoporosis. Inactivity also contributes to bone loss and increases risk of fractures
related to falls. Specific exercise training may actually strengthen bones reducing the risk
of fractures and even falls.
People with osteoporosis usually do not have any symptoms until they suffer a broken
bone or fracture. This often is related to a fall secondary to poor conditioning and lack of
exercise activity. Compression fractures of the spinal bones (vertebrae) can occur without
any associated trauma in osteoporosis. This can lead to significant pain and decreased
function that may last for several months. Although not always painful, spinal compression
fractures can lead to significant loss of height and poor posture. Hip fractures are also
related to osteoporosis and can severely impair quality of life and function. Osteoporosis
elevates risk of arm and wrist fractures with falls which can severely impact one’s ability to
perform daily activities. A rehabilitation program specifically aimed at osteoporosis treatment
is a powerful tool in the reduction of fractures and falls.
The diagnosis of osteoporosis involves a careful history, physical examination, laboratory
studies, and specialized bone density testing performed by a health professional. This assessment
should also include a review of ones activity level and identify ways to improve
conditioning. An important part of the treatment is identifying any medical conditions or
medication that may be contributing to bone loss. Other imaging techniques such as a CT
scan may also be done for further evaluation.
Osteoporosis management involves a combination of mediations, nutritional
supplementation with diet modification, smoking cessation, and exercise therapy. These
treatments should also be considered in those without osteoporosis for prevention of
this disease. The treatment of osteoporosis involves a focused rehabilitation therapy
program to gradually restore adequate strength and improving overall function. People
with osteoporosis or those who would like to prevent it should adopt a regular exercise
program including strengthening, weightbearing and balance exercises.
The Resistance Chair Solution
A strengthening program as provided by the Resistance Chair and weight bearing activities
such as walking are vital in treatment and prevention. Another benefit of the Resistance
Chair Solution is a rehabilitation program to improve overall conditioning and
lowering the risk of falls. These exercises and stretches are the optimal initial treatment
approach to this disease and ensuring maximal quality of life and independence.