At Vitalis Physiotherapy, our treatment for Osteoporosis includes:
What is Osteoporosis?
Osteoporosis occurs when the creation of new bone doesn’t keep up with the loss of old bone. The bones become weak and brittle, so much so that coughing or bending over could cause a fracture.
Although your bones are very strong, they consist of living tissue that continually breaks down and rebuilds. Up until your early 20s, your body has the ability to make new bone faster than it breaks down old bone tissue. But this process slows down as you get older.
Types of Osteoporosis
- Osteopenia – is a diagnosis of low bone mass, where you have a T score of -1 to -2.5. At this stage you can take steps to improve your bone mass and prevent the onset of osteoporosis
- Osteoporosis – is where there are structural changes to the bone. Your T score will be less than -2.5. Osteoporosis-related fractures most commonly occur in the hip, wrist or spine. Osteoporosis is more prevalent in white people and people of Asian descent, more specifically women.
What are the symptoms?
In the early stages of bone loss, called osteopenia, there are often no symptoms. However, some signs and symptoms can point toward potential bone loss, such as:
- Receding gums. Your gums can recede if your jaw is losing bone. Ask your dentist to screen for bone loss in the jaw.
- Weaker grip strength. In a study of postmenopausal women and overall bone mineral density, researchers found that low handgrip strength was linked to low bone mineral density. In addition, lower grip strength can increase your risk for falls. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29430846/
- Weak and brittle fingernails. Nail strength can signal bone health. But you should also take other factors into consideration that may affect your nails, such as exposure to very hot or cold temperatures, regular use of nail polish remover or acrylic nails, or submersion in water for long periods of time.
As the disease progresses you may also experience:
- Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over time
- A stooped posture
- A bone that breaks much more easily than expected
- Nail strength can signal bone health. But you should also take other factors into consideration that may affect your nails, such as exposure to very hot or cold temperatures, regular use of nail polish remover or acrylic nails, or submersion in water for long periods of time.
What are the risks?
There are a number of factors that increase your risk of osteoporosis:
- family history (a parent or sibling)
- inadequate amounts of dietary calcium
- low vitamin D levels
- cigarette smoking
- alcohol intake of more than two standard drinks per day
- caffeine intake of more than three cups of coffee or equivalent per day
- lack of physical activity
- early menopause (before the age of 45)
- low testosterone in men
- low oestrogen in women
- loss of menstrual period if it is associated with reduced production of oestrogen, which is vital for healthy bones (the menstrual cycle can cease following excessive dieting and exercise)
Some conditions place people at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
These conditions include:
- thyroid disease or an overactive thyroid gland
- rheumatoid arthritis
- chronic liver and kidney disease
- conditions that affect the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, such as Crohn’s disease, coeliac disease and other inflammatory bowel conditions
Can you prevent Osteoporosis?
It’s important to take action to prevent bone loss and maintain bone density.
Examples of bone-building steps you can take include the following:
Engage in exercise
Regular weight-bearing exercises help to build bone mass. Weight-bearing exercise involves physical activity that you do on your feet, with your weight supported by your bones. Examples include:
Eat enough calcium
An adult typically needs about 1000mg of calcium per day, this may vary based on life stage and calcium needs.
Get enough vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital to helping your body absorb calcium. Most people need 400 international units (IU) of vitamin D each day.
between 10 to 15 min of sun exposure can stimulate vitamin D production. Spending this limited amount of time in the sun two to three times a week while wearing sunscreen is enough to meet your vitamin D needs, per the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Your doctor may request a scan to check your bone density. Usually they scan your lumbar spine and hips and compare them to density of others your age and gender.
How Osteoporosis is diagnosed?
Your doctor may request a scan to check your bone density. Usually they scan you lumbar spine and hips and compare them to density of others your age and gender.
Once you have osteoporosis you require a multimodal approach to treatment. It is important to also look at creating an exercise program to strengthen your bones and muscles and reduce your risk of falling.
Our Osteoporosis & Osteopenia treatment includes:
- prevention & education – our experienced physiotherapists will advise you how to care about bone health,
- discussion about any risk factors relating to your poor bone health,
- referral for further assessment if required,
- pain management strategies,
- posture and balance exercises (to minimise risk of falls),
- specific muscle and bones strengthening,
- education about self-managing strategies,
- assistance in rehabilitation after a fracture occurred.
How to book an appointment?
If you have Osteoporosis, our physios at Vitalis Physiotherapy can assess your condition to tailor a unique rehabilitation plan to aid in your pain relief and recovery.
All you need to do is just give us a call on 0410 559 856 and request an initial appointment. Please let our friendly reception staff know the background and severity of your condition.
You can visit our FAQs for more information about appointments at Vitalis Physiotherapy.