Submitted by Dr. Jennifer Penrose of Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

If you have been diagnosed with soft bone and you don’t know where to start this is for you. If you don’t know if you have soft bone and haven’t had a bone scan yet one way to determine if you have soft bone is if you are shrinking in height. If you are shrinking more than .5 inch a year or more than 1.6 inches in your lifetime then you likely have had a compression fracture in your spine from soft bone or what we call osteopenia and osteoporosis. Don’t panic as it has healed but it has healed in a way that has left you shorter. Think of soft bone/osteoporosis like butter and if you slouch or work in front of you most of your day – which is almost all of us – then that can load the vertebrae/bone and cause a silent compression fracture. A silent fracture means you do not feel it happen! You only notice the loss of height or shrinking over time. Can we help people gain height? Yes, but not by causing the bones to grow. We have seen patients gain an inch in height by stretching the tight posture muscles and giving them posture activities and yoga-type exercises. It is a myth to think shrinking comes with age – unless you have scoliosis. It is also a myth to think you can’t do anything for the rounded upper back posture. You can improve that rounded upper back posture and certainly prevent it from getting worse. 

If you are a pre- or post-menopausal woman with the rounded upper back posture you certainly need to keep reading and be sure to get in touch to prevent this from getting worse. Remember someone along the way likely told you to sit up straight. Walking around with a book on our head might help train us to keep a better posture and avoid that awful rounded upper back. I wouldn’t start with that; but instead, try sitting with your ears over your shoulders at all times. Next, try intermittently squeezing your shoulder blades together. And don’t forget a brisk walk will do good for your bones and for improving your posture! What else can you do about shrinking and soft bones? You definitely should discuss getting a bone scan if you have lost .5 inch of height in a year or 1.6 inches in your lifetime. You should be on a good calcium and vitamin D supplement, vitamin K2, magnesium, boron, zinc and other trace minerals that affect bone density. Did you know proton pump inhibitors (for GERD) really affect your ability to absorb Calcium? Using an isotonic supplement (powder that mixes with water) has a 95% absorption rate. Make sure you are taking a supplement that is actually absorbed. If you want more information email jennifer@penrosept.com

Photo courtesy: Penrose & Associates Physical Therapy

Ultimately, rounded upper back posture can create compression fractures if you have soft bone and it also affects neck pain, back pain and headaches.  And believe it or not the upper rounded back/slouched posture also affects the mechanics of your shoulders and can create impingement leading to rotator cuff problems. Don’t wait for the pain to get so painful. In fact, most of the time I hear from patients they wished they would have started therapy sooner!

Penrose Physical Therapy is known for their expertise in helping 50+ move better, decrease pain and enjoy retirement! We specialize in knowing how to best help arthritis, tendon problems and osteoporosis/soft bone. We can help design a program that will increase bone density and improve your posture.

Besides physical therapy, we have Yoga poses that are designed to improve bone density. These poses are based on Dr. Fishman’s research with osteopenia patients that were able to improve their bone density. Our small group Yoga class is designed for osteoporosis and you will feel the results without irritating your rotator cuff, arthritis or stenosis. The smaller classes allow great feedback and ensuring you do things properly. If you keep finding yourself getting injured in your workouts, or you are afraid of getting hurt, or you are shrinking and you don’t know where to start then call us at 360.456.1444 and we would be happy to see whether you should start with physical therapy or with the classes.

We are located at 1445 Galaxy Dr. NE Suite 301 Lacey WA 98516.  We have free tips reports on Osteoporosis on the Penrose Physical Therapy website and follow the podcast “Stay Healthy South Sound” to hear more tips:

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