Osteoporosis Awareness

Written by Heather Hansman, Think Physical Therapy Assistant

Avoid fractured health with Whole Person Health at Think Whole Person Healthcare.

What is it?

Osteoporosis is the loss of bone density. Osteoporosis’s direct meaning is “porous bone,” because the bones become more porous with this condition. Our bones are living tissues that constantly “remodel,” meaning some bone cells dissolve and are replaced by new bone cells. When bone cells dissolve significantly more than they rebuild, that could be the beginning of osteoporosis.

What happens when bodies develop osteoporosis?

When you live with osteoporosis, your chances of fractures are increased because your bones become weaker. Chances of experiencing osteoporosis increase with age. Also with age, muscles tend to weaken if you’re not active. Weak muscles and lack of balance can cause fractures too, because falls are more likely to occur.

Some symptoms of osteoporosis include aching bones, especially vertebra, and shrinking of bones – like height loss.

Do not worry – there’s no reason to be scared. In fact, being scared of living life could just make things worse!
** There are ways you can help yourself avoid falls and fractures. Just keep reading!   

 

Here’s how to prevent bone density loss:

Exercise! The benefits are three-fold:

  1. Exercise creates muscle and burns fat, which lessens the strain on your bones. This helps your bones have less weight to bear. More muscle helps support those bones.
  2. In the case that you start to feel yourself falling, the strong muscles you maintained through exercise can help you catch your fall.
  3. Exercise builds – and helps maintain – bone strength and density.

** Some think that a good way to avoid falls and fractures is to limit movement. They’ve got the wrong idea! Not living life, but rather living in fear with a sedentary lifestyle, equals less confidence, strength and sturdiness – and makes people more prone to the things they’re trying to avoid. Move, move, move – but with help from the right people.

Speaking of which, I teach Think’s Fall Prevention Class. This could be a great option for you – or a loved one who lives with osteoporosis. The Fall Prevention Class is a small community of adults who come together to have fun while strengthening their bodies to increase their balance. The group is so welcoming, too!

Participants of Think’s Fall Prevention Class are excited about the confidence they build from attending class with peers and exercising with instruction from me. One participant, Jan Turcotte, told me – “I’m not afraid to go out and do things now because I feel more sturdy.” I love it!

Learn more about what class participants have to say.

 

Nutrition

Another great way to prevent and treat osteoporosis is with the correct nutrition. Bones need nutrients to be healthy – but you already knew that! You need calcium and vitamin D to absorb calcium. You also need a healthy balance of protein, fruits, veggies, vitamins and minerals.

 

Other treatments

Oral medications are another common treatment for those living with osteoporosis. Some use hormone treatments, bisphosphonates – or both. There are also injectable medication options since bisphosphonates tend to upset the stomach. The role of these medications is to slow the process of bone cell breakdown.

If you live with osteoporosis you should consult with your primary doctor about which medication treatment will work best for you. At Think Whole Person Healthcare, every patient’s care team includes a primary doctor, nurses and a clinical pharmacists. Together, they help you manage your Whole Health – keeping your healthcare plan coordinated versus “fractured.”

 

Life Is For Living! Make sure you live it to the fullest by maintaining your health. Think Whole Person Healthcare is here to help!

  • Call us at (402) 506-9050 to learn more about the Fall Prevention Class.
  • Not yet a Think Whole Person Healthcare patient, and want to learn more? Fill out a short form and we’ll contact you with more information.

 

Top 10 Benefits of Water

 

Written by: Michelle Cooper Day, Women’s Pelvic Health Physical Therapist, formerly with Think Whole Person Healthcare

– and the down side for many women…

We all know about the benefits of water:

  1. Regular bowel movements – helps with digestion and keeps our bowels moving
  2. Healthy skin – moisturizes skin from within, decreases wrinkles
  3. Flushes out toxins – urination and sweating after drinking water rids our body of waste preventing kidney stones and UTI’s
  4. Immune system booster – keeps our eyes and mouth moist to repel infection
  5. Headache prevention – dehydration is the leading cause of headaches
  6. Increases our energy – keeping the brain hydrated helps us to think, focus, and concentrate
  7. Zero calories – adding some cucumber or a few berries gives water a natural flavor
  8. Joint lubricant – keeps our joints moving smoothly and muscles fluid
  9. Mood booster – water is required for the brain and body to produce the right neurotransmitters to prevent depression and insomnia
  10. Keeps us cool – water is required so we can sweat to cool our body on those hot summer days

How much water should you drink is a common question? Estimated amount for women is eight 8 ounce glasses per day with a gradual increase to that amount if you have been drinking less. A half ounce per pound of body weight is the recommended amount with more on hot days or if you are working out and sweating. Your urine should be slightly clear yellow in color and not dark.

Unfortunately, many women do not drink enough water because they report it increases their urinary incontinence episodes especially when exercising. If pelvic floor muscles are not functioning as they should, urine can leak from the bladder despite our best efforts. Kegels are often recommended to help the muscles strengthen but Kegels aren’t for everyone (see previous article) and many women do not know if they are actually doing a Kegel correctly.

Recipe: Cucumber, Mint, Cranberry Spa Water

  1. Fill a pitcher with water.
  2. Add slices of cucumber, washed mint leaves crushed, and fresh cranberries. You can substitute blueberries, strawberries, pineapple slices. I tend to avoid lemon and citrus fruits because it can irritate the bladder.
  3. Refrigerate until chilled.
  4. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy the fresh flavor!
  5. Store in the refrigerator.

 

How to Prevent Falls in Older Adults

According to the U.S. Center of Disease Control and Prevention, one-quarter of Americans aged 65+ fall each year. That’s way too many – especially when you consider the high costs and serious injuries that follow. And the myths don’t help. Many think if they limit their activity, they won’t fall. That’s not true and we’ve developed a Fall Prevention Class, which proves that movement, strength, balance, coordination and confidence decrease chances of falling. Listen to our Fall Prevention Class Leader and Physical Therapy Assistant Heather Hansman and two Fall Prevention Class participants to learn more about the benefits this program offers. If you are interested in joining the classes please call (402) 506-9050.



 

What is Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy?

Kegels Aren’t for Everyone

Women typically don’t think about the importance of our pelvic floor muscles until something goes wrong. If you’re leaking urine with running, jumping, coughing, sneezing (stress incontinence), can’t quite make it to the bathroom in time (urge incontinence), going more than 5-8 times per day, waking up more than once every night (urinary frequency), or if you have pain with intercourse, you should seek help from a Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist.

The pelvic floor is a group of muscles attached to the pelvis, hips, and sacrum that support the abdominal contents and reacts to changes in pressure created by the diaphragm above. This group of muscles supports the bladder, urethra, uterus, vagina, and rectum. The pelvic floor is responsible for our bladder and bowel function plus sexual function.

Kegels are commonly recommended when a woman reports urinary or bowel incontinence – it’s not a normal part of aging! However, not all women should do Kegels because it may cause more harm than good. And if you are performing Kegels – how do you know if you are doing them properly?

A specially trained Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist can assess your pelvic floor using internal and external techniques to evaluate the function of your pelvic floor muscles. It’s important to assess the surrounding structures of the pelvic floor such as the connective tissue, sacroiliac joint, pubic symphysis, low back, and hips. It is necessary to assess your ability to contract AND relax the pelvic floor muscles. Assessing your patterns of active pelvic floor recruitment of your core and breathing plus function with tasks such as lifting, running, and transfers is crucial.

If the muscles are determined to be tight, you might be experiencing:

  • Urinary frequency, urgency, hesitancy, stopping and starting of the urine stream, painful urination, or incomplete emptying
  • Constipation, straining, pain with bowel movements
  • Unexplained pain in your low back, pelvic region, hips, genital area, or rectum
  • Pain during or after intercourse

If the muscles of the pelvic floor are weak, you might be experiencing:

  • Vaginal or rectal heaviness or pressure – prolapse
  • Urinary incontinence with cough, sneeze, run, jump or position changes

A Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist will determine the status of your pelvic floor muscles and treat any tight muscles until they reach their normal flexibility. Then the strength and coordination will be addressed (which might include a form of Kegels) and monitored to make sure the exercises are being performed correctly.

Our pelvic floor is an area that tends to hold our emotions. Addressing depression, anxiety, and stress plus realizing the importance of our thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs is essential. A mental health care provider can assist in this area, if needed, combined with Pelvic Floor Physical Therapy resulting in a faster and more effective recovery.