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    Women And Bone Health

    Kim Snyder, PT The Women's Hospital 06/16/2016

    Women seem to be very conscientious about getting routine exams completed.  Whether it is a mammogram, yearly physical, and colonoscopy or bone density.  When getting the results we are relieved when everything is negative or normal.  Occasionally those tests will come back in the “not so favorable” range.  One particular test is bone density.  We get T-scores and Z-scores and get put into categories with people who may fracture, with all of this information becoming a little confusing.

    When women are asked about their bone density and whether or not they have had issues they often respond, “I have a little osteoporosis” and really give it no value. The fact that we have a tool that gives us an indication that we are losing bone cells at a greater rate than we are storing them is amazing. 

    It is also amazing that we are discovering this at younger and younger ages.  Women are currently being counseled to take more calcium and vitamin D and some are further counseled to begin taking medication to decrease fracture risk.  Most are encouraged to perform weight bearing exercise.  Women are instructed in specific amounts of calcium and vitamin D to consume as well as prescriptions for medication. The confusion comes with the exercise instruction. What is weight bearing exercise?

    The medical dictionary defines it as exercise during which the body works against the force of gravity and the feet and legs carry a person’s weight.  Walking is certainly a weight bearing activity; however it is not high on the list for exercises that increase bone mass. It may increase bone mass in the heel, however the calcaneus is low on the “at risk” bone for fracturing with osteoporosis.  Our shock absorbing shoes minimize the positive weight bearing effects of this type of exercise. Weight lifting is a great avenue for loading bone. The unfortunate part of this type of exercise is that we are not properly educated in appropriate technique and often times lack understanding of what is contraindicated for the osteoporosis diagnosis.

    Trunk flexion, bending the trunk forward, is one of the highly contraindicated exercises for low bone mass, particularly of the spine.  This adds excessive force/weight to “at risk bone” of the spine which can cause micro fractures or even compression fractures.  The Women’s Hospital and High Pointe Therapy saw the need to further educate women to assist in the fight of this disease.  FrameWorks was developed to fill this void.  It is not your usual exercise class.  Women are educated in strengthening and protecting their frames from the inside out prior to beginning weight bearing exercises.

    We begin on the floor in a non-weight bearing type of exercise to improve alignment prior to loading the body.  Following the realignment phase we work on balance followed by proper alignment with walking and finally end with “weight bearing exercises” with hand weights.

    They are taught proper technique, how to pre-load and use principles of variability to surprise bone and keep it stimulated.  If you are noticing loss in height, rounding of the spine, low bone density scores or have a high risk for the disease, this exercise program could be of benefit to you! Women leave this 10 month program fully loaded for the fight of this disease.

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