Finding Ground to Stand On for Stronger BonesJul 19, 2020
Written by David Johnson, PT, MPT, Founder of Evergreen Physical Therapy Specialists.
I don’t know about you but as we try to enjoy summer, it feels like everything around us is cracking. Our foundations are being put through tests of time with the current world situation, and for many of us, this is a load we are struggling to hold up.
Without making light of the situations surrounding us, this is somewhat like the bone fragility of osteoporosis or a related condition called osteopenia. Bones are meant to stand the test of time, but under load, they become at risk of not holding up.
Osteoporosis / Osteopenia & Fractures
The National Foundation of Osteoporosis ( NOF.org – a fabulous resource ) sheds light on the not often talked about risk of fragility. The most common fracture sites are the spine and the hip. Very often, fractures at these two sites are “silent” and go unnoticed for quite some time. Daunting statistics about the high incidence of repeat fractures are alarming. Unfortunately, the condition has led to the reality that “fracture begets fracture”.
But, enough of the scary talk about bone fragility. Let’s answer the important questions.
What can be done and is there hope?
This may surprise you.
Yes, there is hope. As a physical therapist of nearly 30 years, it would make sense for me to jump right into posture, strength training, weight bearing recommendations, which I do in the clinic, daily. However, in these uncertain times, it is important to address one other thing before we jump right into the physical side of things.
What is V.U.C.A. ?
Peter Shallard PhD, Founder of Commit Action, talks about a body of research originated at the US Army War College that describes the human condition during chaotic times. This condition is described by the acronym V.U.C.A. – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. These create barriers to the “10 best exercises for bone strength” having an effect. In unusual times of Volatility , Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity, which a new diagnosis of bone fragility creates, it is critical that one learns these following best “exercises”.
1. Focus : On Action, Not Perfection
We all know, to some extent, that ‘perfectionism’ is the greatest cause of procrastination. While there are optimal exercises that seem to have the best outcomes for bone health the effect is more sure, with a focus on a few foundational principles. I'll talk about those in a future post or you can register for our online workshop Stand Your Ground: An Osteoporosis Workshop, this Thursday July 23rd, 5:30 pm here. If that time doesn't work for you, you can always check our workshop page for other workshops and times.
2. Fear fear itself
That is not a typo. Re-read it. A new diagnosis or awareness brings fear. Maybe, fragility begets fragility too. Thoughts of “what if” are very valid once people get that DEXA scan result. But, succumbing to the fear will only weaken the bones further if it causes inaction. We know this, over time less activity due to fear creates a sort of paralysis and avoidance of what needs to be done.
3. Make 1% moves
Living with bone fragility is like a chess game, not checkers or cards. Strategic small moves over time will gain the results you want.
So, what does “Stand Your Ground” for better bone strength mean?
It means we have both mental and physical work to do. Future posts will address the physical work to do. One without the other would be useless. Together these mental ‘exercises’ will help one navigate what otherwise seems volatile, uncertain, complex, and even ambiguous. If you’re eager to learn more, go to our workshops page and register for our next workshop.
So, Let’s stand together and get this done. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to subscribe, so you don’t miss any of our future posts!
Dave is the owner and founder of Evergreen Physical Therapy Specialists. He and his wife Tammy, an RN at CHLA, opened Evergreen over 15 years ago to provide the community of Pasadena with specialized and compassionate care. David has over 25 years of experience in orthopedics, neuro-rehabilitation, and pediatric physical therapy.
To schedule an appointment with David or one of our staff please give us a call at (626) 683-8536 or Request an Appointment here. Lastly, don't forget to subscribe to our blog to get more great insights from our specialists!
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