Osteoporosis Rehabilitation - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Bone Health and Osteoporosis

The Most Comprehensive Program to Keep Bones Strong

Are you a young woman wanting to keep your bones healthy and strong, a post-menopausal woman needing to know your bone density, or an older man or woman wanting to improve your posture, balance and gait and avoid a fracture? People of all ages who want to prevent or treat osteoporosis will find everything they need at RIC’s Bone Health and Osteoporosis Program. RIC brings it all together in one place – medical expertise, state-of-the-art diagnostics, expert physical and occupational therapy, and clinically based exercise programs. If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, need to be screened for the disease or believe that you are at risk of developing it, our team can help.

A multidisciplinary approach to osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones lose their density and are more prone to fracture. It can affect a variety of people, including those of all different ages, abilities, and medical complexity. Compression fractures of the spine are a frequent result of the disease, causing lasting pain, immobility and reduced quality of life. The good news is that while some bone loss is inevitable, osteoporosis and further bone loss can be prevented, controlled, slowed and managed. At RIC, we offer a threefold approach to treatment – diagnosis, medication and physical rehabilitation – which may be integrated with your primary physician’s care and other medical specialists' treatment plans, or may act as an independent, comprehensive treatment.

Diagnosis: An important first step

At RIC, you can be screened for osteoporosis with a DEXA bone scan, a specialized radiographic technology for measuring bone density and evaluating bone health. Unlike ordinary X-ray, bone densitometry can detect even mild bone loss that may lead to osteoporosis. Experts certified in bone-density analysis then interpret and report the results. A thorough history and physical exam, a detailed functional assessment, and possibly laboratory work may also be done as part of a bone-health evaluation. With an understanding of your bone health, your physician can recommend a plan of care that might include medications to slow bone loss, an exercise regimen, an assessment of your strength and balance, and education on staying healthy through diet, exercise, and safety.

Physical rehabilitation: Supporting your body as a whole to suit your lifestyle

Prevention and treatment of osteoporosis involve more than simply taking medication. Weight-bearing exercises and adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D are essential to bone health. Our rehabilitation team provides clinical expertise addressing posture, flexibility and balance deficits, proper body mechanics, and nutritional information. They can also provide recommendations for a safe home environment to minimize fall risk, as well as assist with preventive exercise prescriptions and plans to return to activity.

Rehabilitation Services

  • Pain management
  • Upper extremity, lower extremity, trunk range of motion
  • Upper extremity, lower extremity, core strengthening
  • Postural education
  • Body mechanics training (e.g., safe bending, lifting strategies)
  • Balance screening and training
  • Gait training
  • Assistive device needs to reduce fall risk
  • Navigation of household/community obstacles (e.g., curbs, steps)
  • Recommendations for home/community gym exercise program

Based on your lifestyle, home environment, and activities of daily living, our team members work with you to ensure you can safely do the things you want and need to do to improve your quality of life. Regardless of your starting point, the RIC Bone Health team is dedicated to optimizing your bone health, mobility, and safety.

Medical management: Strengthening your bones from within

People who have been diagnosed with or are at risk for osteoporosis often benefit from therapy combined with pharmaceutical treatments that slow the advancement of bone loss and reduce the risk of fracture. In some instances, medication has been shown to stimulate bone growth. Physicians at RIC have been involved in the development of many of these drugs and are currently working on new treatments to prevent osteoporosis and rebuild bone. While many people receive appropriate osteoporosis treatment from their primary care physicians, RIC offers specialized care for people who will best benefit from a highly detailed, integrated treatment program, particularly for those with more complicated situations, repeated fractures, or disabilities.

Making an appointment

Appointments can be made directly by calling 1-800-354-REHAB (7342) or 312-238-1000, or you may have your physician write a referral for an evaluation by an RIC physician, member of our therapy team, and/or for a bone density scan (DEXA scan) and then call us at 1-800-354-REHAB (7342) or 312-238-1000 to schedule an initial evaluation.

Your Osteoporosis and Bone Health team