Osteoporosis & OsteoBall Studies

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The following excerpt is from the Journal of Rheumatology article, detailing the studies performed :

Osteoporosis: Diagnosis, Pharmacological, and Rehabilitation Therapies

“..I chose to modify an exercise program that I had designed to strengthen the muscles of patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Many patients with RA cannot apply a significant muscular effort during an isotonic or isokinetic contraction because of painful inhibition of muscle effort incurred during vigorous movement of an arthritic joint. The recognition that brief isometric resistive exercises…gives an adequate stimulus for muscle strengthening provided a basis for utilizing a lightweight inflatable ball that could be squeezed to provide resistance and that had attached elastic handles that could be pulled, providing alternative resistance.

It can be argued that squeezing such a ball, which is used partially (67%) inflated, is not an isometric exercise because some motion (compression) does occur. In fact, the ball, which adapts and gives in under the area being compressed until the maximum pressure is applied, will then offer an isometric resistance. Further, as strength increases, the ball continues to offer maximum resistance to the greater strength, thereby effectively giving a progressive-resistive stimulus to accommodate the increased strength.

Exercises

An inflatable vinyl ball measuring 18 in. in diameter with a nonelastic loop handle on each side and inflated to two-thirds capacity (for ease and comfort in positioning the ball for each exercise) provided the exercise resistance. Specific positioning of the ball and straps to create tension and resistance accommodating to the neck flexors and extensors, the hand grip, the elbow flexors, the thigh flexors, and extensors, the hip abductions and adductors, the angle flexors and extensors, the trunk flexors and extensors was utilized in the exercise sequence.

All of the exercises were performed according to a written protocol supplemented by illustrations of each exercise. The duration of each exercise was 5 sec with the patient exhaling, counting out loud ‘Push 1, Push 2, Push 3, Push 4, Push 5” in order to minimize the Valsalva effect [holding one’s breath while doing a rep, impeding bloodflow to the brain] while forcefully contracting the muscles. A 1-min rest followed each exercise, including positioning the subject with the exercise ball for the subsequent exercise. The duration of each days exercise ranged from 5-10 min.

Results

8-Week Muscle Strength Increase: 20 Females Ages 56 to 69

Muscle Group Pre-Test Post-Test Change
Head & Neck 20.7 22.7 1.96
Left Hand 50.0 53.5 3.52
Right Hand 54.5 58.7 4.2
Left Elbow Flexors 24.1 25.8 1.64
Right Elbow Flexors 22.7 25.3 2.53
Left Quad 42.6 45.7 3.1
Right Quad 40.3 45.5 5.25
Left Elbow Extensors 17.4 17.2 -0.21
Right Elbow Extensors 16.7 17.2 .52
Trunk 26.4 27.1 .71