What is the focus of physical therapy for osteoporosis?

Updated: Jan 20, 2021
  • Author: Rachel Elizabeth Whitaker Elam, MD, MSc; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Physical therapy focuses on improving a patient's strength, flexibility, posture, and balance to prevent falls and maximize physical function. [225, 226] Postural retraining is key in this population. Spinal bone mineral density (BMD) is directly correlated with the strength of the back extensors; therefore, maintaining and strengthening the back extensors should be emphasized. [227] In studies by Sinaki and colleagues, strengthening the back extensor muscles reduced kyphosis and decreased the risk of sustaining vertebral compression fractures. [228, 229]

As soon as the course of therapy allows, weight-bearing exercises should be initiated. Regular weight-bearing exercises are essential for the maintenance of bone mass [65] and should be encouraged in all patients, including children and adolescents (to strengthen the skeleton during the maturation process). Exercise also improves agility and balance, thereby reducing the risk of falls.

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