OSF St. Joseph Medical Center

Bone Health

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and fragile.

Although often thought of as a women’s disease, osteoporosis can affect men as well. Most of the time, bones weaken when they have low levels of calcium or other minerals.

When bones are weakened, it is more likely they will break. Osteoporosis makes bones so brittle that in extreme cases, fractures can occur from bending over or coughing.

Complications of Osteoporosis

If osteoporosis is left untreated, it can progress quickly and lead to the following:

  • Fractures
  • Loss of height
  • Joint pain
  • Joint stiffness
  • Low back pain
  • Postural changes
  • Muscle weakness
  • Morbidity/mortality

When should you see a physical therapist?

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or experience any of the following symptoms, talk with your health care provider about seeing a physical therapist:

  • Joint pain or stiffness
  • Postural changes as you’ve aged
  • Lost height 
  • General muscle weakness 
  • Diagnosed with a fracture of the wrist, hip, or spine

What to expect at Osteoporosis Therapy

OSF Rehabilitation Services offers osteoporosis therapy, a comprehensive program designed to prevent and/or reverse the common patterns of postural change. A pre-screening is required to determine the likelihood of osteoporosis.

Our physical therapists will start you on beginners’ exercises. It is important attend sessions at rehab, but you also need to know how to care for yourself at home.

We will provide you instructions on activities of daily living, fall prevention, body mechanics, and positioning.

As you progress in the program, you will begin stretching tight areas of muscle in the body and strengthening weak areas.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

In order to prevent Osteoporosis, it is important for your body to receive plenty of calcium to build and maintain healthy bones.

Your body also needs Vitamin D to help it absorb the calcium. In addition to eating a healthy diet, you can take these other steps to help prevent Osteoporosis:

  • Avoid drinking excess alcohol
  • Don't smoke
  • Get regular exercise