Recommended Treatment Options For Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease that causes the bones to become thin, brittle, and weak. It raises the risk for fractures and is much more common in women. It often affects postmenopausal women; however, women with hormonal disorders, autoimmune diseases, and those who take certain medications may also be at risk. Osteoporosis can cause severe spinal pain and may cause a curvature of the upper part of the back, known as a dowager's hump. Here are some osteoporosis treatment options that your physician may recommend.

Bisphosphonate Drugs

Prescription medications known as bisphosphonates are commonly used in the treatment of osteoporosis. They help slow down the breakdown of bone, and therefore, decrease the progression of osteoporosis. While bisphosphonate drugs can help prevent osteoporosis from getting worse, they do little for existing bone damage caused by osteoporosis.

One of the most commonly prescribed bisphosphonate drugs is alendronate. It is typically well-tolerated by most people who take it, however, it may not be appropriate for you if you have acid reflux disease or if you are unable to remain in an upright position for at least half an hour.

The reason why you need to remain upright after taking the drug is to prevent severe acid reflux or esophageal damage, which may occur if you recline too soon after taking the medication. A rare side effect of bisphosphonates is a condition known as osteonecrosis of the jaw, which causes the jawbone to break through the gum tissue. Bisphosphonate medications may also slightly raise your risk of bone fractures of the thigh.

Physical Therapy

Another effective treatment option in the management of osteoporosis is physical therapy. The exercises that you will do during your physical therapy sessions help reduce your risk for further bone loss while helping to strengthen your bones.

Your physical therapist will concentrate on the bones that are most likely to fracture during a fall, including those of the hips, arms, and shoulders. Physical therapy also helps improve your range of motion and balance, and it helps lower your risk of falls. Some physical therapy centers require a doctor's prescription, however, in others, you can simply enroll on your own.

If you believe you may have osteoporosis, make an appointment with your physician. After a comprehensive physical examination and a bone density test, they will recommend an effective plan of care to help slow down the progression of your disease.