bone health program
Osteoporosis affects more than 28 million Americans, causing them to develop brittle bones. These brittle bones often lead to painful fractures that require hip reconstruction and challenging rehabilitation. And fractures aren't the only risk osteoporosis also can cause loss of height, restricted mobility, and a humped back.
The Bone Health Program at St. Francis can help. The program has two tracks - one that helps those with osteoporosis build bone mass and prevent fractures, and one that helps maintain current bone density to prevent osteoporosis.
Our program is led by a multidisciplinary advisory council who work together to determine the best course of treatment for those at risk for osteoporosis. The council consists of physicians specializing in OB-GYN, spine surgery, family medicine and pain management.
The good news about osteoporosis is that for most people, it's preventable. Our bodies build bone density until about the age of 30, at which point bone density starts decreasing over time. Two strategies for maintaining strong bones are including enough bone-building nutrients in your diet, and getting regular weight-bearing exercise.
Diets including recommended amounts of calcium, Vitamin D and protein will ensure that your body has enough of the nutrients required to build bone. If you'd like to make sure your diet includes enough of these nutrients, schedule an Outpatient Nutrition Consultation with one of our registered dietitians.
Regular exercise causes muscles to pull on bones, which can help strengthen them. Weight-bearing exercises like walking, jogging or playing tennis are great for building bones, as are resistance exercises like lifting weights. Check out our Sports Medicine workout guides for exercises that you can do at home.
An bone density (DXA) scan is also recommended for women who are 65 and older, or for those who have high risk factors for osteoporosis. Physicians use bone density scanning to assess how your bone density compares to both a young, healthy adult and to your peers. The results from a bone density test can help your physician decide if you need to begin treatment for osteoporosis, or to see if your osteoporosis treatment is working. For more information, call 864-675-4029 for the Imaging department at St. Francis eastside.
For those who are already diagnosed with osteoporosis, the Bone Health program can help prevent further bone loss. This program also is available to patients who already have endured a fracture and have been through the Geriatric Fracture Program.
The program starts with a bone safety evaluation that shows how osteoporosis affects everyday activities. Next, therapists develop a custom-designed program that involves physical therapy, occupational therapy and education. Physical therapists create exercise programs to strengthen bones, help create at-home walking programs, and can put participants in touch with exercise resources like aquatic therapy.
Occupational therapists work with participants to reduce the risk of falls and teach balance retraining exercises. They also teach about home safety, conserving energy during everyday tasks, and proper body mechanics to avoid injuries. Finally, participants learn how diet is an important factor in maintaining strong bones.
The Building Stronger Bones program focuses on maintaining and improving bone density. It is led by specially-trained instructors who develop exercise programs that are custom designed for each participant. These exercise programs strengthen muscles, increase bone density, and improve balance and mobility.
The instructors work with participants weekly on their exercise programs, show them exercises to do at home, and educate participants on topics including:
- How to Maintain or Improve Bone Mass
- Preventing Fractures and Reducing Your Risk of Falls
- Strategies to Lessen Fatigue and Pain During Everyday Activities
- How to Set Up a Walking Program
- The Role of Diet in Bone Health
- How Smoking Affects Bone Density
The Building Stronger Bones program can be helpful to those with multiple risk factors for osteoporosis, those who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and want to maintain their current bone density, including those who have been through the Osteoporotic Fracture program.
A physicians referral is required to participate in these programs. Please ask your doctor for more information.