By Wayne Goffin, Progressive Physical Therapy –
Acommon misconception is that osteoporosis only affects older women but it can also affect men and people younger than 60 years of age. In fact, osteoporosis can develop at any age. It is estimated that more than ten million Americans have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and that approximately 35 million more are at a high risk of developing it due to low bone mass. Being responsible for more than 1.5 million fractures annually, osteoporosis is not something that should be taken lightly. The good news is, as we understand more about this disease, moreoptions are being discovered to effectively treat weakened bones throughout the body.
There are multiple causes and factors that can contribute to the development of osteoporosis. The following is a list of the most common causes: lack of vitamin D, K, and Calcium in the diet; poor fitness level; early menapause; age; and effects of drugs such as cortisone. The thing many of us don’t realize is that the majority of our “bone bank” or bone density storage is in place by the time our skeleton matures at late adolescence – early adult phase. So, what this means is, the things we do as youth significantly affect the long term condition of our bones. Things like anorexia or starving to make the lower wrestling class can come back to haunt us as we age. One of the worst cases I’ve heard of was a young man in his early 40’s who looked healthy and strong, yet from always starving himself for high school wrestling matches he now suffers femur fractures by just stepping off a curb.
In people with osteoporosis, the bone density gets so low it can’t support the weight of the body and seemingly insignificant actions like getting out of a low chair or serving a tennis ball can cause a fracture. More fractures occur in the hips than any other parts of the body. This is particularly dangerous due to the high mortality rate that results due to the complications of long bone fractures. Fractures also frequently occur in the spine and wrists. The familiar hunch back position that is often seen in an elderly person is most often a result of a spinal compression fracture.
Treatment and prevention addressing the underlying cause most often involves adjusting nutritional factors including at least 1500 mg of calcium per day, avoidance of medications like cortisone, and limiting carbonated beverages. People 65 and older should have routine bone density tests to prevent severe problems and can be given calcium absorption enhancing medications if needed. Participating in weight-bearing activities at least 3 times per week has been shown to significantly increase bone density.
Physical Therapists have a unique understanding of the medical factors of this disease and are experts at putting together specific programs to prevent and improve osteoporosis. Sara Meeks, an experienced Physical Therapist, has dedicated her career to specializing in osteoporosis and has trained our therapists in her proven and effective techniques. Following her program, our patients have seen dramatic results with improved posture, allowing them to stand as much as 2.5 inches taller. We accomplish this by elongating the spine with simple gentle stretches, postural reeducation and progressing to weight-bearing exercise at 70-90% of maximum exertion three times per week. A team approach involving your physician, Physical Therapist and nutrition expert can effectively help you avoid the back breaking effects of osteoporosis.
Owner, Physical Therapist
Wayne was born in Wisconsin and raised on a dairy farm. After completing school he moved to sunny FL. with his wife and has been treating patients in Charlotte County since 1999. He is the proud father of two beautiful daughters and the owner of Progressive Health Plex.
Wayne graduated From Andrews University with his Bachelors of Science and a Masters in Physical Therapy. He is certified by the FL Board Of Physical Therapy, a certified member of IWA, IHRSA and a member of the APTA. Wayne has experience in Acute Care, Home Health and Out Patient settings. He specializes in back and neck pain and is an excellent Manual Therapist.
When not working Wayne enjoys spending time with his family and playing racquetball. He is a camper and loves being outdoors.
Progressive Health and Racquet Club