Back pain can have many causes. Injuries, physical work or the repetitive stress of daily tasks can strain the muscles and discs along the spine. When seeking out physical therapy near me, consider physical therapists who have experience with the specific cause of your back pain. One possible cause in adults over 50, and particularly women, is osteoporosis.
What Osteoporosis Is
Bones are living tissue, just like the muscles, skin and organs of the body. They don’t stay the same, like steel beams in a building. Rather, they grow, die and are replaced over the span of a lifetime.
As people age, their bodies often can’t create enough new bone to replace the bone that dies off. This leads to osteoporosis: brittle and spongy bones that are easily broken and can’t support the head and limbs properly. Those at particular risk for osteoporosis include:
- Post-menopausal women, because estrogen contributes to new bone growth. After menopause, the body stops producing estrogen and bones can become brittle.
- White and Asian women, due to genetic factors.
- Older adults who are sedentary, as weight-bearing exercise is an important trigger for new bone growth.
How Osteoporosis Leads to Back Pain
Osteoporosis is commonly associated with hip fractures, but it can also lead to fractures of the spine that cause immense back pain. Pressure from standing and supporting the body can compress weak vertebrae and cause pain as well.
Restore Healthy Movement, Function, and Bone Strength
The good news is, physical therapy in Chickasaw Nation is incredibly effective at treating back pain from osteoporosis. This is because your bones are always rebuilding themselves, so exercise can help restore healthy, dense bone to your spine at any age. Here are a few exercises a physical therapist may lead you through:
- Low-impact aerobic exercise, such as walking or climbing stairs. Even though osteoporosis makes bones brittle, it’s important to keep your bones moving to encourage new growth. Any exercise that keeps you on your feet also restores proper curvature to the spine to reduce pressure and pain. Running or jumping are not recommended aerobic exercises for osteoporosis, as the risk of breaking a bone is too high.
- Lifting weights. Developing upper back strength takes pressure off a weakened spine. Your physical therapist may assign arm lifts and holds with small barbells.
- Posture correction. Hunching can increase compression along the spine and lead to more pain later on. A physical therapist may prescribe daily exercises to improve your posture and overall spine health.
Starting an exercise regimen can feel daunting with chronic pack pain, but it’s a critical part of long-term treatment. A physical therapist will work within your limits and not exceed the level of exercise your body can handle.
Find the Right Treatment for You
A combination of medication and physical therapy can greatly improve the day-to-day lives of people with osteoporosis. Light and careful exercise speeds the body’s natural healing process and releases endorphins to help with the pain. To reduce back pain and start encouraging healthier bone growth, look into back pain treatment near me.