What is osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis is decreased bone density which affects the strength of your bones. Osteopenia is an early stage where you are at risk for developing osteoporosis. Normally, bones break down and rebuild to strengthen. However when the rate of breakdown surpasses the rate of rebuilding, the bones can become fragile.
It is estimated that 300,000 people in Ireland have osteoporosis. Women are more susceptible to osteoporosis due to smaller bones and hormonal changes, although 1 in 4 men over 50 also have osteoporosis. It is a common condition that can be treated by a combination of medical and lifestyle interventions.
How We Can Help
(What Treatments are involved)
A treatment plan for osteoporosis should include weight bearing and strengthening exercises to help maintain bone density and decrease the rate of bone weakening. A physiotherapist will measure your strength and balance and create an individualised plan based on your needs. Physiotherapy treatment may include balance exercises, muscle strengthening, weight bearing exercise, and education around lifestyle and exercise.
Benefits of Physiotherapy for Osteoporosis
Weight bearing exercises has been shown to help maintain your bone density, which means keeping your bones strong. Physiotherapists can advise on what the best and safest types of exercise are for you to maintain your health. If you have had a fall where you broke a bone, a physiotherapist can also help you regain your strength.
What to Expect
Our physiotherapists may give you an individualised exercise programme to complete at home too. It may be a combination of weight-bearing and muscle strengthening exercise. At an initial assessment, you can expect to be asked questions about your medical history, daily routine, work, exercise regime, and past injuries. Your strength may be tested in a number of ways.
The Irish Osteoporosis Society have an excellent advisory website. The UK Chartered Society of Physiotherapists has an excellent osteoporosis section on their website which covers the topic in great detail. Here you will find evidence-based facts and guidance to help you manage your bone health.