Fractured Freedom: Osteoporosis Hurts More than Your Bones

Hip and spinal fractures threaten your mobility. Staying active is your best defense.

It’s no secret that an osteoporosis-related hip or spinal fracture is painful, but they can cause even more significant long-term damage. Osteoporosis can lead to immobility, which means you may not be able to move as freely as you did before. Walking seems so simple—until you’re not able to do it easily.

But, there’s good news: If osteoporosis has slowed you down, you can regain your mobility and independence. The tips below show you how. But first, learn why mobility is so important.

woman walking with her grandaughter on a bridge

Reduced Mobility, Reduced Quality of Life
Mobility is your ability to move as you wish. People experience a normal decline in their mobility as they age, but people should be able to walk and be active their entire lives (barring a disability or disease that prevents it).

When mobility decreases, other aspects of good health often follow suit. People tend to stop exercising, they gain weight, they stop making plans with friends, they lose self-esteem, and they no longer leave the house unless necessary. Mobility is not just a problem of physical health but of emotional and mental health as well. When mobility lowers, so does your quality of life.

Mobility means more than your ability to move. Mobility is a foundation of total health, and it’s essential to your independence.

People with osteoporosis are at risk for decreased mobility because their bones are susceptible to fracture. And, fractures—particularly in the hips and spine—can threaten your ability to move freely. Fortunately, developing certain lifestyle habits can keep you moving and healthy for the long run.

Tip 1: Exercise and Physical Therapy are Your Best Defense

The best way to keep moving your whole life is to stay moving. Regular exercise and physical activity are essential to protecting your mobility, and exercise is very effective for osteoporosis. Exercise doesn’t just build strong bones—it builds a strong body. Strong bodies tend to have better balance, which helps prevent falls, and ultimately prevents spinal fractures.

SpineUniverse has information and videos about
different
types of exercise. Visit our Exercise Center

You’re never too old or too inactive to begin an exercise regimen. Walking, hiking, and aerobics are great options. Group sports, like tennis and volleyball, are terrific for your physical and social health. Get your active lifestyle off to a healthy start with some bone-building exercise tips for osteoporosis.

If you’ve experienced a spinal fracture, your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you safely recover and get back on your feet.

Tip 2: What You Eat Affects Your Feet

Your diet keeps you moving, so make sure you’re eating nutrient-rich foods that promote healthy bone growth.

Calcium sources such as dairy, spinach, nuts, calcium-fortified orange juice, and salmon will help keep your bones stocked with the nutrient.

Other nutrients to focus on are vitamins D and K. Vitamin D (found in fatty fish and egg yolks) aids calcium absorption in your body, while vitamin K (leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables) has been shown to help your body build new bone.

Want to see how much you really know about the best-for-your-bones foods? Take the Osteoporosis Food Quiz.

Tip 3: Medications Can Help Keep Bones Strong

Medications and nutritional supplements can provide an additional safeguard for your bones.

Osteoporosis prescription medications, such as bisphosphonates, can prevent and treat osteoporosis. Your doctor may also recommend nutritional supplements to help you build strong bone and prevent fractures.

Prevent Spinal Fractures and Protect Your Independence
Osteoporosis can come with some serious complications, such as painful spinal fractures that lead to a loss of mobility and independence. But, an osteoporosis diagnosis shouldn’t be taken lying down: Staying active, eating right, and boosting your bone health with medications can ward off pain and protect your quality of life.

Updated on: 06/28/17
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Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis
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Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis

What you do in physical therapy is very dependent on you: the cause of your osteoporosis, your physical fitness level, your risk level for spinal fractures, and what your body can handle.
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