OsteoporosisDr. Howard Liss treats disorders that cause pain and disability by providing consultative services and soft tissue and joint injections when needed. When medically appropriate, he makes specific referrals for diagnostic testing (lab work, imaging, electrodiagnosis), physical and occupational therapy, interventional procedures (epidurals and facet joint injections), and surgery.
When bones become thin, brittle and fragile, or when individuals fracture their bones frequently, it’s likely that more calcium is being taken out of their bones than is being replaced. This condition is known as osteoporosis, and it is marked by an individual’s inability to generate dense bone. While osteoporosis occurs in both males and females, 80% (8 million) of all cases are female. Caucasian and Asian-American females make up approximately 20% cases, while Latin American and African-American women represent 10% and 5%, respectively.
Women naturally have smaller, thinner bones when compared to men. The sharp decline in the hormone estrogen (at or during menopause), along with a less-active lifestyle as women age dramatically increases their risk of developing osteoporosis. Even so, other risk factors for developing osteoporosis include:
- Lack of weight-bearing and resistance exercise
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Thyroid problems (including parathyroid)
- Coeliac disease
- Liver and kidney disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Lack of calcium
- Lack of vitamin D (sunlight exposure)
While the above-mentioned factors contribute to women’s health risk of osteoporosis in varying degrees, the lack of weight-bearing or resistance-type exercises remains the most critical component involved in generating new bone growth. This is particularly true for women who are over 50 years old and already at risk.
Treatment and Exercise for Osteoporosis
As physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) specialists, physiatrists devise selective treatment and exercise protocols to help improve and manage osteoporosis in women. A combination of medication, physical therapy, and patient education are often suggested.
Depending on the extent of osteoporosis, the following medications may be prescribed to reduce or reverse osteoporosis:
- Prolia (denosumab)
- Protos (strontium renalate)
- SERMS (selective estrogen receptor modulators)
- HRT (hormone replacement therapy)
When used in conjunction with a comprehensive exercise regimen consisting of impact and resistance-type training, bones become stronger and osteogenesis (production of new bone) is encouraged. In effect, a suitable exercise program also proves to enhance coordination and balance, which serves as protection against injury.
Consider the following treatment and exercise training options for osteoporosis:
- Stabilization exercises
- Closed kinetic chain exercises
- Foot posture correction exercises
- Biomechanical analysis
- Balance enhancement training
- Bracing and support (including supportive taping and strapping)
- Joint mobilization techniques
- Neurodynamics analysis
- Strength and stretching exercises
Though some continue to believe that osteoporosis is an inevitable part of aging, physiatrists understand the enormous benefits of medical and physical therapy in both reducing and preventing osteoporosis in women. Physiatrists have extensive education and expertise in multiple disciplines, as well as exposure to a number of conditions that affect bone health. They are uniquely positioned to help women advance in their health.
At the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute, patients can rely on Dr. Liss to put together the right treatment, therapy and rehabilitation plan to ensure the most optimal outcome. Dr. Liss works closely with other specialists required to rehabilitate patients suffering from chronic pain or serious injuries, and Dr. Liss will refer patients as needed to ensure appropriate treatment. With extensive education and exposure to a variety of conditions that affect the cervical and lumbar spine, bones, nerves, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, brain, and spinal cord, Dr. Liss is uniquely positioned to help patients manage their pain and maximize their function.
If you have low bone density, or if you have suffered multiple bone fractures over the last year, contact the Howard Liss, M.D. Rehabilitation Institute for comprehensive evaluation and treatment.