Osteoporosis Program

Welcome to our Osteoporosis Program! The Rehabilitation Services Department offers virtual osteoporosis classes to Alberta residents with a confirmed diagnosis of osteoporosis. 

Osteoporosis is a skeletal (bone) disorder characterized by low bone mass. The bones become more porous and fragile, and are at greater risk of fracture. One in four women and one in eight men will develop low bone density. Osteoporosis can be managed with medical and pharmacological treatment, appropriate exercise, and nutrition and lifestyle changes.

The goals of this program are to gain a better understanding about osteoporosis, prevent fractures and improve posture and strength to reverse the pattern of postural changes due to osteoporosis. You will receive practical information, exercise advice and the necessary tools to help you manage your osteoporosis. 

Course requirements

To attend the Osteoporosis Program, you will need:

  • A medical diagnosis of osteoporosis from your physician
  • Technology that supports the Zoom platform (audio and video required)
  • An email account
  • To complete and submit the Osteoporosis Health Questionnaire
  • To review the following materials:

Registration

To register for the Osteoporosis Program, contact the Misericordia Community Hospital Rehabilitation Services Department at 780.735.2757 to place your name on the wait list. You will also need to complete the Osteoporosis Health Questionnaire and return it to the department by fax or mail so your referral can be processed. If you have a copy of your bone density test or FRAX, please submit this with your health questionnaire.

Fax
780.735.2621

Mail
    
Osteoporosis Program
Rehabilitation Services Department
Misericordia Hospital
16940 87 Ave
Edmonton, AB  T5R 4H5

Once we have received your questionnaire, a physiotherapist will contact you to review it and confirm your class dates. We will send Zoom invitations to your email.

Program information

Our Osteoporosis Program runs for 5 – 7 weeks, once per week for 1.5 hours via Zoom. Classes are led by a licensed physiotherapist and may include additional sessions with a pharmacist and a registered dietician.

Our classes consist of informative lectures in a group setting, with opportunities for sharing and questions. There will be time spent on exercises, including helpful tips on how to do exercises specific to osteoporosis and how to be sure the exercises you do are safe for your body. You will also learn to improve your posture.
Please take a look at our course handout for more details.

We are using Zoom to deliver our material, so please access our Zoom support page for more information on preparing for and getting the most out of a virtual education program.

You will learn about:

  • Osteoporosis and how it changes the body
  • Basics of exercising with osteoporosis and appropriate precautions
  • Safe activities and which movements to avoid
  • How to take care of your back during everyday tasks
  • Types of lifts and correct lifting techniques
  • Fall prevention and improving home safety
  • Strengthening exercises
  • How to start and progress a walking program
  • Proper nutrition to support bone health
  • Medications for osteoporosis and their effects

You will practice:

  • Correct posture for sitting and standing
  • Gentle spinal decompression exercises
  • Proper lifting techniques
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Strengthening
    • Lower body weight bearing exercises
    • Upper body strengthening exercises with light hand weights

Equipment & materials

You will need the following equipment for classes:

  • Suitable technology (laptop or tablet preferred, with audio and video capabilities)
  • Floor or bed where you can lay down to exercise (you may wish to use a yoga mat if using the floor)
  • Wall space free of clutter and obstructions
  • One or two pillows
  • Two hand towels
  • Stool without a back if available, or chair (backless stool is best). Do not use a chair with wheels.
  • Light hand weights (2-3 lbs) or substitute other household objects (cans of soup, bags of rice)
  • Have a cell phone within easy reach for use in case of emergency

Safety considerations

  • At no point in your exercises should you feel any pain, especially in your back.
  • Always be mindful of your balance. Have a counter, railing, or table nearby for support.
  • Make sure you use any walking aids (cane, walker, etc.) that you usually use, so you are safe.
  • Your instructor will teach you how to get up and down from the floor safely. Please do not attempt this if you are unsure. You can also do floor exercises on the bed.  
  • If you are unable to perform the exercises or are experiencing any challenges with the exercises, do not perform them before seeking guidance from the physiotherapist.
  • Ask questions to clarify. If you are on mute, please type comments and questions into the chat box. It will be monitored regularly during the session.
  • If you have any changes in your condition, with pain, unsteadiness or feeling unwell, do not continue with your exercises. Seek medical help if needed.
  • Have a plan if problems arise during the session and have a phone close by. If possible, be able to contact another household member. Please alert your instructor if problems arise and you are alone and call 911.

Participant survey

Please complete this survey after you have completed the Osteoporosis Program.

Contact information

Phone: 780.735.2757
Fax: 780.735.2621

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