What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where there is a reduction in bone density resulting in an increased risk of bone fractures. It is most common in post-menopausal women aged 45+, however it can be experienced in men or younger people too. 3 million people in the UK have a diagnosis of osteoporosis so it is quite common.

Osteopenia, on the other hand, is the stage before osteoporosis where the bone density is reduced but less significantly. Not everyone with osteopenia will develop osteoporosis

Causes 

Osteoporosis can be caused by a number of reasons as losing bone density is a normal part of the ageing process. However, you are at a higher risk of developing it if:

  • You have taken high dose steroids for more than 3 months
  • Have a low BMI
  • Have a sedentary lifestyle
  • Taking certain medications
  • Have a family history of the condition

Diagnosis 

Osteoporosis and osteopenia can develop over time and are usually picked up following a fractured bone by having a DEXA (bone density) scan. You may be referred to the metabolic bone clinic or prescribed Vitamin D, Adcal or selective oestrogen receptor modulars or bisphosphonates including alendronic acid. You may also be offered a parathyroid hormone which is delivered via an injection.

How can you help yourself?

If you have been diagnosed, don’t panic! There’s plenty of things you can do to help your bone density.

Exercise is a key way of managing osteoporosis as recent studies and guidelines have recommended resistance to exercise to help improve bone density. This means that by using weights or therabands to exercise you could improve or maintain your bone density!  Keeping active is a great way to maintain your mobility as you age and keep your joints moving!

When you use your muscles, it pulls on the bones that they are attached to. This stimulates your bones to renew and strengthen themselves. It is important to gradually increase the resistance with exercises. When doing exercises you should aim to do 10-12 reps without feeling too exhausted. It is advisable to liaise with a Physiotherapist or Personal Trainer to ensure you are using the correct weight or resistance.

How can we help you at Katie Bell?

Physiotherapy:

If you would like to keep active and help your bone strength then you can see a Physiotherapist for a 1:1 exercise programme.

It is unusual for osteoporosis to be a direct cause of pain – those who experience pain are more likely to have experienced a fracture which causes pain. However, it is still possible to experience pain through osteoporosis. If you are concerned then ask your Physiotherapist or GP.

If you unfortunately do sustain a fracture, Katie Bell’s team can give you or loved ones rehabilitation in clinic or at your home if you are struggling to get out and help you to get back to your normal activities.

In addition, if you are at risk of falling then we can help you by giving you a programme of balance exercises and advice on prevention of falls and equipment you can purchase to help you do day-to-day activities more safely. We can do this in clinic or visit you at home.

Pilates:

Alternately Pilates is a wonderful way of maintaining exercises within a supportive, friendly environment that accommodates to the level most appropriate for you, utilising a variety of equipment to add resistance to your workout! Pilates can be done as group or 1:1. To book a complimentary taster class, simply follow this link.

Nutrition:

This plays a big part in the management of bone density, it is important to have a balanced diet that is high in calcium and vitamin D. Our nutritionist can help you to formulate a plan to keep your bones as strong as they can be.

If you would like to discuss osteoporosis in more detail, please feel free to book in for a complimentary consultation.


Written by Emily Branch, Physiotherapist