Following a broken bone, particularly in the spine or hip, your doctor may refer you to a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will assess you prior to starting any treatment in order to meet your needs and monitor progress.
The aims of physiotherapy include:
• Reducing the risk of a fall
• Improving balance and co-ordination
• Improving muscle strength, flexibility, breathing and posture
• Improving mobility
• Increasing confidence and well being
• Reducing/controlling pain
• Helping with changing shape after spinal Fractures.
Physiotherapists can use a combination of pain relieving techniques including TENs machines, hydrotherapy and relaxation, as described above. They may also use the effect of heat. This can work to reduce muscle spasm by improving blood supply to the painful area. This simple treatment can be easily used at home with either a heat pad/wheat bag or a covered hot water bottle.
Spinal fractures due to osteoporosis can sometimes cause severe back pain. It may seem unbelievable when you are in pain but exercising regularly can actually help to reduce pain. Spinal fractures may cause pain with the slightest movement, so gentle controlled moves can help. You may want to rest in bed or a comfortable chair but try not to do this for long periods unless told to do so by your doctor.
Remaining immobile for too long can create its own set of problems, such as blood clots, pressure sores, poor circulation, chest infections and you may lose bone density. Most therapists agree that in the early stages after breaking a bone, while the injury is healing, rest with gentle movement is best. However, it is just as important to regain mobility and prevent deterioration of the muscles which hold the spine in place. Even if you suffer from severe curvature of the spine, it is possible that suitable exercise may bring relief and improvement. You may need advice from a physiotherapist.
Exercises that help with posture and build muscle strength may also help reduce pain and increase your sense of well being. Gentle exercises, such as lying on your front and gently raising the head and shoulders by pushing up with your arms, can help to build up the back muscles which can be beneficial to pain. Care needs to be taken when carrying out this type of exercise and it should be undertaken with guidance from a physiotherapist. For more exercises that may help reduce pain, ask your doctor to refer you to a physiotherapist.
Exercise and osteoporosis Booklet