What is osteoporosis & osteopaenia?
Osteopaenia is midway between having healthy bones and osteoporosis. However, in both cases you are more likely to fracture a bone than someone with normal bone density. Having osteopaenia may or may not turn into osteoporosis later in life as diet, exercise, and sometimes medication can slow down the deterioration of bone health.
Statistically, women have lower bone mass than men. They also live longer on average, meaning their bones age more. Calcium is key to maintaining healthy bones, but changes during menopause put woman at a greater risk of developing osteopaenia. This is due to a decrease in oestrogen production after menopause, as women are less able to retain calcium from dietary sources. A calcium supplementation is often recommended to prevent calcium depletion and improve bone health.
What are the early signs of osteoporosis and osteopaenia?
- Being are susceptible to injury
- Increased pain in your joints
- Some back pain caused by a fracture or collapsed vertebra
- Loss of height over the years
- Tiring very easily
- Having a stooped posture
What are the risk factors for developing osteoporosis and osteopaenia?
- Gender – women are four times more likely than men
- Age – women over 50
- Race – Especially Caucasian and Asian women
- Women who have had breast cancer
- Lack of calcium, as this affects bone strength and muscles that support our bones
- Excessive alcohol intake
- Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia
- Overactive thyroid – a high concentration of thyroid hormone can lead to more bone breakdown which affects bone density
- Physical inactivity – lack of any exercise reduces bone and muscle strength which will increase the risk of fractures and falls
- Vitamin D – Low vitamin D can reduce the body’s ability to absorb the calcium required to stay healthy
How is osteoporosis and osteopaenia diagnosed?
- DEXA scan – is a special type of bone density test
- Bone X-ray – this may pick up fractures
- CT scan of the spine
- MRI of the spine
How is osteoporosis and osteopaenia treated?
If you have Osteopaenia the goal of treatment is to keep it well-controlled and stop it turning into osteoporosis.
- Good diet and exercise plan
- Taking a calcium or/and vitamin D supplement
- Regular low impact exercise and stretching, especially weight-bearing and strengthening/resistance exercises to help build muscle mass. This can be prescribed by your physiotherapist.
- Stop smoking
- Limit alcohol and caffeine
If you have osteoporosis the goal of treatment is to keep you as strong and supple for as long as possible, reducing further wear and tear of your bones.
- Good diet
- Antiresorptive medications
- Anabolic medications
- Pain medication
- Calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Practical and emotional support is very important
How physiotherapy can help your osteoporosis and osteopaenia
We will do whatever we can to get you on the fastest route to recovery. Some of the treatment methods we use include:
- Strengthening exercises
- Myofascial trigger point release
- Cross-friction massage
- Stretching and range of movement exercises
- Functional exercises