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Physical Therapy for Osteoporosis


Physical Therapists at Virginia Hospital Center who work with osteoporosis patients have extensive training in The Meeks Method for exercise and movement.

If you or your family member is diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia, or if you think you are at risk, please discuss with your physician if Physical Therapy is an option for you. You can also find more information on the diagnosis and factors that put you at risk in the diagnosis section that follows.

To talk with a therapist skilled in working with osteoporosis patients, call 703.558.6507 and ask to speak to a member of the spinal/orthopedic team.


About Osteoporosis and Osteopenia

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become weak and more likely to break. Any bone can be affected, but those most likely to break are the hip, spine and wrist. A hip or spine fracture can limit mobility, cause pain, and lead to prolonged disability, even death. Osteoporosis is a public health threat for millions of Americans. Although women are most affected by the disease, 20% of patients with osteoporosis are men.

Who is at Risk for Osteoporosis?

Women Men
Smokers/non-smokers People who abuse alcohol
Thin people Obese people
Sedentary people People who over-exercise
Pre-menopausal women Post-menopausal women
Teenagers Heavy antacid users
Anorexics or bulimics People with family history of osteoporosis
People who have lost body height  

Medications That Put You at Risk for Osteoporosis

Corticosteroids Long-term thyroid medication use
Diuretics Anticonvulsants
Heparin Coumadin
Methotrexate (for treating cancer) Cholestyramine (controls cholesterol)
Cyclosporine A Antacids containing aluminum
GnRH (for treating endometriosis)  

Diseases That Put You at Risk for Osteoporosis

Thyroid dysfunction (high or low) Diabetes
Congential disorders Liver dysfunction
Burns Primary hyperparathyroidism
Cushing’s disease COPD
Cancer Seizures
Chronic inflammation Neurological disorders
TB Malabsorption syndrome
Rheumatoid arthritis Kidney dialysis
Organ transplants  

Specialized Care Services

Three Components of the Treatment of Osteoporosis

The three components of treating osteoporosis are medication, diet and exercise.

Medications include:
Fosamax®, Evista®, and Actonel®.
Your physician will discuss the options with you.

To be addressed by your dietician.

The Osteoporosis Program in the Rehab Department at VHC starts with our assessment of the patient. We will gather information from you during a one-on-one discussion. This will be followed by a series of tests to obtain your baseline measurements in a number of areas and using a variety of tools. From there we will tailor a program to meet your needs. As a general outline the program often includes education about the disease, instruction in exercises for proper posture, teaching you safe and efficient ways to move throughout your day, incorporating weight-bearing exercise, balance training, and ultimately a progression to strength-training program. The underlying goals focus on improvement in bone strength, decreasing the risk of fracture and pain, and maximizing function and mobility.

Contact Info & Hours
  • If you or your family member has suffered an injury or illness that interferes with the ability to move freely and safely, Physical, Speech & Occupational Therapy at Virginia Hospital Center may help. To schedule an appointment, please call us at 703.558.6507.
  • Please note that your physician's written order is required to use our services, and an additional authorization (referral) from your insurance company may be needed. Department hours are Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm (6:00 pm on Mondays and Wednesdays).

1701 N. George Mason Drive | Arlington, VA 22205-3698 | tel 703.558.5000
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