Put The Brakes on Breaks

Once-a-week workouts reverse fracture-causing bone loss.

Though the bulk of Charlene Einsel’s 35-year career as an educator passed in Pinellas County, two of her most rewarding years were spent working in Nebraska at a community long-admired for its care of at-risk young boys and men.

Charlene Einsel (left) works with OsteoStrong trainer Kathy Barrera

Charlene Einsel (left) works with OsteoStrong trainer Kathy Barrera

“I worked at Father Flanagan’s Boys’ Home,’’ Charlene says of the Omaha landmark better known as Boys Town. “It’s a great organization that has saved a lot of young boys. Working there was a great experience.

“I was only 23 at the time and was married to a wonderful individual who was a probation officer when the opportunity was presented to us. We became the youngest set of family teachers ever hired at Boys Town.”

Armed with four college degrees, Charlene eventually returned to Kansas, where she grew up, and finally to Florida, where she taught, served as a principal and later became the first coordinator at Palm Harbor University High School.

With a focus on medical wellness, Palm Harbor University High School is one of several magnet schools Charlene has had a hand in developing in Pinellas County. For years, she did that work while fighting two potentially crippling diseases.

“It was probably 10 or 13 years ago that I was diagnosed with osteopenia, and then about six years ago, it advanced to osteoporosis,” Charlene says of the conditions that greatly increase the risk of bone breaks.

A Silent Disease

Found most often in postmenopausal women such as Charlene, 65, osteopenia and osteoporosis develop when bone growth fails to keep pace with natural bone degeneration to the point where bone mineral density becomes dangerously low.

According to federal data, about 54 million Americans suffer from osteopenia, osteoporosis or low bone mass, which causes some to lose height when it affects bones in the spine and leads to a stooped posture.

But it’s not just women who are affected by these conditions. Statistics show that one in two women will suffer from an osteoporosis-related fracture at some point in their lives. Studies also show that one in four men will deal with a similar affliction.

Because it can go undetected until a fracture occurs, osteoporosis is considered a silent disease, but it can be treated with medications. Charlene is among those who took that treatment route after she was diagnosed with osteopenia.

“I was on Fosamax® for several years, and after I had another DEXA scan (bone density test) in 2019, my doctor wanted me to go on Prolia®,” Charlene details. “She was really adamant about that, but I said, I don’t think so.

“That got me thinking about what else I could do. One day, while my husband was getting a prescription filled, I picked up a copy of Florida Health Care News. In there was an article about OsteoStrong. It was after that that I decided to give it a try.”

Specialized Equipment

OsteoStrong is a revolutionary program that has helped more than 25,000 people reverse the negative effects of osteoporosis and osteopenia. It does this through the use of specialized biomechanical equipment that’s used once a week for about 15 minutes.

The equipment allows the user to perform resistance-based pushing and pulling exercises with arms or legs. During these exercises, pressure of up to 12 times the user’s body weight can be safely applied.

“The difference between our equipment and that used at a traditional gym is that our equipment does not involve a counter force,” states Mark Brady, president of OsteoStrong in South Pasadena. “You create the force you are comfortable with, and you are in control of it at all times.

“Because there is no force pushing against you, you create the force. For example, on our lower body and leg machine, I’ve had women in their 80s weighing 100 pounds who can exert forces in excess of 1,000 pounds.

“For a person who weighs 100 pounds to develop new bone working out on traditional equipment, they would need to create a resistance of over 400 pounds. That simply can’t be done by 99 percent of all people in a gym environment because it involves weights they couldn’t physically move. Or, if they could move them, they’d be at high risk of injury.”

To understand the difference, Mark invites people to come in and try the equipment, noting that his facility offers a free orientation session to experience OsteoStrong and learn more about the science behind the program.

“This is an amazing concept that is the culmination of 12 years of research that looked into the body’s adaptive response to growing bone and muscle structure and improving the density of the bones we have,” Mark says.

“As a result of that research, it is now a known medical fact that when you put certain forces on the bones, the body responds by growing new bone tissue. And the results of these short sessions are absolutely amazing.”

According to Mark, studies have found that OsteoStrong improves bone density 3 to 7 percent per year. Also, people will increase their strength by an average of 73 percent over their first year at OsteoStrong.

Mark also points out that similar studies show that doing an OsteoStrong session more than once a week does not promote additional benefit. As a result, workouts are not only impactful, but also time efficient.

Mark encourages people of all ages to accept his invitation to try the OsteoStrong equipment. He also notes that it’s important to know that osteoporosis is not a disorder that is exclusive to a specific age group or gender.

“Osteoporosis is not something that only happens to old people,” he explains. “We have clients from young to old and everything in between. And men are not immune. When they start losing their testosterone, their bone loss becomes more rapid.” 

In addition to helping people recover from bone loss, OsteoStrong wants to help educate them about it.

“We offer people an opportunity to learn more about osteopenia and osteoporosis and why the OsteoStrong program is so effective in fighting it,” Mark concludes.

Doing the Right Thing

Charlene first read about OsteoStrong in December 2019. She joined the program a little more than a month later. Since then, bone density tests show that the brief once-a-week workouts have had a positive effect on her bone health.

“There are three different areas that the DEXA scan provides data for,” Charlene explains. “One of those showed an improvement of 7 percent since my last test and another showed an improvement of 5 percent.

“The third showed a drop of 3.2 percent, but the doctor said there’s a 3 percent chance of error in the test, so she basically called it a wash. The bottom line is that the OsteoStrong workouts are working for me, so my doctor told me, Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.”

Charlene has every intention of following that order. She says she feels fortunate to have found a nonmedicinal remedy for her osteoporosis that doesn’t tax her body the way traditional workouts do and is already passing the word on to others.

“The workouts are quick and they’re not like doing Pilates or something like that where you work up a sweat and can feel it the next day,” Charlene confirms. “The other thing I like is that you can monitor your progress on the machines and the staff is really helpful.

“They always make sure you’re doing everything right so that you get the most out of it, and they’re very encouraging. They’re like cheerleaders. They celebrate the victories with you. I’ve already told several friends about OsteoStrong, and I think others should check it out as well. It’s a great program that has done great things for me.”

© FHCN article by Roy Cummings. Photo by Jordan Pysz. js
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