What is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a medical condition that leads to brittle and weak bones, it occurs when the body loses bone mass or doesn’t produce enough of it. As we age, the cells responsible for producing new bone cells work less efficiently than those that remove old bone, leading to a net loss in bone tissue. This deterioration causes bones to weaken and become more prone to fractures, particularly in the hip, spine, and wrist.

A stage before osteoporosis is called osteopenia. This is also characterized with decreased bone density and is often considered a precursor to osteoporosis as it is a sign that bone loss is occurring. It is not as severe as osteoporosis and is usually shown when a bone density scan shows a lower bone density than average for your age, but not low enough to be classed as osteoporosis.

What are the signs and symptoms of osteoporosis?

Symptoms of osteoporosis are usually not noticeable until a bone is broken which is usually the first sign of osteoporosis. Other signs and symptoms of osteoporosis include a loss of height over time, back pain, and a stooped over posture (bent forward).

Associated risk factors?

There are numerous factors both controlled and uncontrolled that put you at risk of developing osteoporosis.

Uncontrollable risk factors include:

  • Being over 50 years old
  • Being female
  • Menopause
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Low body weight, being naturally small and thin.
  • Broken bones or height loss

Controlled risk factors include:

  • Not getting enough calcium of Vitamin D
  • Smoking
  • Having an inactive lifestyle and an unhealthy diet
  • Drinking too much alcohol

How can physiotherapy help with osteoporosis?

Physiotherapy plays an important role in older people with osteoporosis and can help reduce the risk of falls and fractures from occurring. We can help you re-gain and improve upon your balance, increase your strength and mobility overall increasing your independence and confidence with activities of daily living.

Some of the treatments and services here at PML we offer to help with osteoporosis include:

  • Falls education to help reduce the risk of falls in older people.
  • Older people exercise classes – a physiotherapy led class for older people to help improve strength, mobility and balance related to long-term conditions including osteoporosis. Our classes also help to improve social interaction, improve mental health, and increase your energy levels!
  • Mobility and walking aid assessments – these assessments will help identify individual mobility needs in people living with osteoporosis and will help us choose together the most appropriate walking aids for your needs.
  • Practice of functional tasks – tasks such as cooking, cleaning, washing, and getting dressed.
  • Home visits or Care Home services if it is not possible to visit us in clinic.

If you or a loved one has osteoporosis, please get in touch to book an appointment with one of our physiotherapists, who will be able to guide you through a management plan to help you live better with osteoporosis and improve your overall quality of life.

You can call us on 0191 285 8701 or email us at info@physiotherapymatters.co.uk.

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No matter whether your condition was caused by a sport, work accident or otherwise, we welcome the chance to serve you.

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