Improving bone density and dealing with osteoporosis

Reporter: Amy Oshier Writer: Paul Dolan
Dealing with osteoporosis at Osteostrong. (CREDIT: WINK News)

For many Americans, osteoporosis is a big problem, thinning bones leads to a higher risk of fractures and poor healing.

Although, there are ways to rebuild lost bones.

70-year-old Theresa Szpak is focused on numbers, not her age but her bone density.

“Since I had three compression fractures, and I had osteopenia,” Szpak said.

Instead of going on medications, she opted for workouts that increase bone strength.

WINK News spoke to Mila Marhovich, who specializes as a doctor of physical therapy.

“By age 45-50, most women especially start gravitating towards lower normal bone density,” Marhovich said. “And then after menopause, it can hit osteopenia, osteoporosis.”

By the time we hit 30, our bones are at maximum strength. As part of the aging process, we start losing bone and have a decrease in building more. Activities like walking can help but it’s not enough to regain lost ground.

In the same way weight lifting increases muscle mass, strength training can rebuild bone. To get measurable results requires very heavy lifting, more than most people can manage.

“So we use the power of robotic devices, visual feedback, neuromuscular retraining, using leverage and the activities,” Marhovich said. “So you don’t have to move any way through space, which is extremely safe on the joints. So you can still get the benefits of activity, like a powerlifting activity, but without the same risks.”

People working on bone building come with dexa-scan readings from their doctor, which is a measure of bone density, used to track someone’s progress.

“We have people often around age 60, testing, like a 40-year-old or a 30-year-old after they’ve done this protocol,” Marhovich said.

After two months Szpak is seeing a change for the better.

“My left hip was a 1.9. Now it’s 0.9, which is considered normal. And I’m hoping I’m looking forward to the next bone density,” Szpak said. “And I never did that before.”

More and more doctors are referring to osteo practices for bone health. Getting results also requires a good diet including calcium and vitamin D.

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