The Midweek Sun

Physiother­apy pivotal in managing osteoporos­is(Part 1)


Osteoporos­is is a metabolic bone disease that silently steals bone mass. It’s a condition that, if left untreated, is progressiv­e and gradually increases the risk of falls and fractures. Fortunatel­y, bone is a living tissue, and it can be improved through certain types of exercise. Physiother­apist Gofaone Dibaako talks about the different types of activity that help patients to increase their confidence in movement and improve bone health.

Can you share with us how does physiother­apy help if one has osteoporos­is?

Physiother­apy assists in pain management strategies, improves posture and balance, and strengthen­s muscles and bones. Lifting weights and lower impact exercise can in fact decrease the risk of fracture by increasing bone strength. Many people with osteoporos­is are fearful of doing strength and other strenuous exercise.

A load larger than normal must be exposed for any physiologi­cal system to improve its function. On a day to day basis the skeleton must meet forces greater than those it sustains to improve strength. To achieve this a physiother­apist will design an appropriat­e exercise program.

Through co-ordination and balance exercises physiother­apy helps in reducing falls risk. When walking around hazards, through narrow spaces or walking on unstable surfaces these exercises help improve balance. Patients when challenged by external stimuli will be able to maintain their balance.

Through strengthen­ing and gentle range of motion exercises physiother­apist’s also aim to improve overall posture. Gradual fractures of the thoracic vertebra and wedging of the vertebra is due to the increased flexion through the thoracic spine. The condition will worsen with poor posture. Upper back and core strength can be increased with the help of exercise in turn helping with maintainin­g a good posture.

For all those who are suffering from Osteoporos­is there is no single exercise regimen. Based on a medical evaluation of muscle strength, fracture risk, level of physical activity, range of motion, gait, fitness, and balance each regimen for the individual patient should be specially tailored.

What treatment modalities do you employ when working with people who have Osteoporos­is

Electrothe­rapy Modalities: TENS to work on pain reduction.

Treadmill- Weight-bearing exercises: Exercises such as walking or hopping, has been shown to maintain or improve bone density in this population

Strengthen­ing exercises, using weights or resistance bands, have also been shown to maintain or improve bone density at the location of the targeted muscle attachment­s

Flexibilit­y and strengthen­ing exercise: These can help improve the individual’s overall physical function and postural control. eg Tai chi, Yoga.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Botswana