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Don't Slack Off Osteoporosis Prevention Routine After 60

USA Today—September 26, 2011

Journalist and author Gail Sheehy, whose mother had osteoporosis, writes about her participation in a campaign to get mothers and daughters to talk about how to protect their bones.

Shamed into action after I wrote a column on osteoporosis last week, she says, I finally went for a current bone density test. This time, however, I knew enough to ask for an even more accurate test: A Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA), which requires an additional prescription. Dr. Richard Bockman, chief of the endocrine service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, studied the printout and smiled at first. "Your hip has good bone density for your age," he reported. "And look at the wrist!" He showed me on the colored graph that I am well above my age group in wrist strength.

But what about my spine? "Your problem is not osteoporosis, it's degenerative disc disease," Dr. Bochman said. One of those gelatinous cushions between vertebrae has been wedged at one end and squished down to paper thin. This can cause pain and sciatica.

What to do about it?

Stretching exercises, pilates and yoga, and deep tissue massage, he recommended.


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