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Osteoporosis: How can I take care of myself?

Osteoporosis: How can I take care of myself?

I shouldn’t bend, lift or twist. How can I still take care of myself, others and my home?

In our first installment of osteoporosis education, we discussed osteoporosis (a disease that affects bone strength) and how the spine is the most common area to show signs of osteoporosis. Examples were provided to reduce the risk of fracture. See the first installment for details¬†with the recommendation to be seen by a physical therapist for the establishment of a SAFE exercise program to assist with your bone strength. What else can you do while you’re improving your bone strength? How will you bathe, dress and complete chores around your home if you shouldn’t be bending, lifting or twisting?

Occupational therapists are experts in activity modification and adaptive equipment. An occupational therapist can help you strategize ways to still do the things you need to do, and want to do, in a new and safe manner with good body mechanics that will help to prevent compression fractures, reduce your risk of a fall and alleviate back pain.

If you have or are at risk for osteoporosis, the following assistive devices are helpful to maintain good body mechanics while going about your daily routine in order to protect your spine:

  1. A reacher: a long-handled gadget with pinchers, a hook, and usually a magnet at its far end to help get clothing over your feet without bending or can be used to assist with picking up an item from the floor
  2. A sock-aide: a plastic device with long-cords to allow putting on socks without bending
  3. A long-handled shoehorn and elastic shoelaces: to avoid bending over to put on your shoes and to eliminate tying and untying
  4. A long-handled bath brush: to help you bathe your legs and back without twisting or bending

Occupational therapists may begin with educating you on modifying your daily routine, but are also experts in modifying your workplace and generating solutions to assist with child care, yard work, pet care and driving!

How do you get started with an occupational therapist? You will need a prescription from your physician. Valley Health offers several outpatient clinics with occupational therapists throughout the Shenandoah Valley. For more information, please visit this page.