Recovering From a Fracture With Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a silent disease. In many cases, a fracture from a fall or minor injury can reveal that your bones are frail and affected by OP. Recovering from a fracture associated with this condition will also take longer as the bones heal slower than normal. Luckily, there are a few healthcare professionals that can help your recover, and you can also use some simple, yet effective tips to speed up your recovery.
- Talk to your doctor regularly to have the optimal OP treatment plan, so you can prevent in the future falls and/or fractures. Review the medication you are taking, because some drugs can affect your balance, or cause a drop in your blood pressure - both of these can increase your risk to have a fall. Vision and hearing tests are also helpful because any impairment in your senses will me you more likely to have a fall.
- Any bone can be broken, but more often the fracture will affect the spine, hip or wrist. A number of healthcare professionals can help you to recover from fractures. The orthopedic surgeon will perform a surgery to repair your fractured bone, although some fractures may only require a splint or cast (for wrist), a back brace or corset (for spine). Physiatrists are MDs specialized in rehabilitation and treat the nerve, muscles and bone problems. The physiatrist will work along with physio therapists and occupational therapists to help you to regain strength, return to your daily activities and function at best after a fracture.
- Follow the exercise program. You need to be as active as you can (and perform certain exercises), but you will also need to rest well. Make sure you perform the exercises exactly as recommended, and avoid movements that can further aggravate your condition. Exercises are very important- they help reduce the stiffness that occurs during the fracture healing, strengthen the weakened muscles, improve the range of motion, break down the scar tissues, reduce the inflammation, and also help you to overcome the fear of movement
- Resume your activities slowly. Your physiotherapist will adjust the exercise plan after your recovery to include the best exercise for OP management (and therefore fracture prevention). Weight-bearing exercises such as walking , resistance exercises (using weights or elastic bands), and balance training. High impact exercises such as running should be resumed gradually, when you get the OK from the healthcare professional.
- Pay attention to your diet, your bones need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to stay in shape and heal faster. Eat a balanced, healthy diet. Avoid highly processed foods, sodas, alcohol, too much caffeine or tobacco. The diet does not provide enough vitamin D, and therefore you should take it in supplement form.
- The healthcare team will also help you deal with pain. Besides experiencing pain during the injury, you may continue to feel pain during recovery, and even many months and years afterwards. Pain is treated with medication, specific exercises, or other methods (i.e. cold or hot packs, ultrasound therapy). If you consider cold packs at home, make sure you don’t use them more than 3-4 times a day, and no more that 10 minutes at the time.