Osteoporosis is the medical term given when bones lose strength. One of the ways this happens is that the bone becomes less dense and more fragile, making you more likely to break a bone than someone who does not have osteoporosis.

It is important for you to be informed about how you can promote bone density and maintain your bone health.  This is where a Chartered Physiotherapist can help.  Being proactive and informed regarding your bone health can significantly reduce the risk of you breaking a bone.

The good news is that not everyone with osteoporosis goes on to break a bone, and it is not inevitable.  We, as Chartered Physiotherapists are here to help you live well with osteoporosis.

HOW CAN PHYSIOTHERAPY HELP?

Physiotherapy has an important role in the management of osteoporosis through appropriate exercise prescription and advice. 

It is not a “one size fits all.”

Your current level of activity, your severity of osteoporosis, whether you’ve had a fracture and any recent injuries or falls will all be taken into consideration to give you an optimum exercise programme, that is evidence based   i.e backed up by the current scientific research. 

Exercise has been proven to be effective in helping promote bone growth, improving muscle strength and reducing likelihood of fracture. Exercise should form part of a broad approach that includes other positive lifestyle changes, combined with pharmacological treatment where appropriate.

What types of Exercises are Important?

1. Weight bearing exercise with impact:

 This involves taking load through the skeleton and moving at the same time e.g. walking, climbing the stairs, tennis, jogging, dancing.

Bone is living tissue that changes over our lifetime in response to the forces placed on it.  When you exercise, your bones adapt by building more bone, which promotes bone strength.  How much and which type of “weight bearing activity with impact” you should do will depend on various factors such as your current level of activity and your specific history with osteoporosis.

Combining weight bearing impact exercise with resistance exercises creates the greatest improvement in bone mineral density (the strength of your bones.)

 

2. Strength training / Resistance training.

Contracting a muscle against an external load is known as resistance exercise.  This type of exercise helps your muscles become stronger over time, but also promotes bone density by placing stress (a healthy type of stress) on bones.  It is particularly effective, in improving your bone mineral density when combined with weight bearing exercises with impact (above.) 

Improving muscle strength with resistance exercise is also an important part of injury prevention for anyone with osteoporosis, particularly when combined with balance exercises.  

Exercises that strengthen the “back extensor muscles” in your back, have been shown in research to reduce your chance of suffering a spinal fracture. These can be done in a variety of ways depending on your ability, and your physiotherapist can teach you the right type of exercises, at the right level for you. 

3. Balance exercises.

Balance exercises are important for life!  Even top athletes do them to prevent injury.  Your physiotherapist will assess your current ability and work with you from there to help maintain and improve your balance. 

Whether you were always active (or not at all), guided exercises from your Physiotherapist, picked specifically for you will play a crucial role in you managing your osteoporosis and living as well as possible.  You may even become more active than you ever were!

 

 

Eva Flunket - Chartered Physiotherapist

WHAT CAN I DO NEXT?

If you have osteoporosis or osteopenia, please book an appointment with our osteoporosis expert Eva Flunkert.  If you’ve had a DEXA scan, please bring a copy of your report on the day (if you can.)

Eva is a Chartered Physiotherapist who is committed to continual professional development.  She will carry out a detailed assessment and provide you with a tailored exercise program, designed specifically for you and backed up by the latest scientific research.  

Please allow 45 minutes for this initial osteoporosis appointment.  If you need a follow up appointment, allow 30 mins for this follow up visit.  

An initial assessment costs €105 and return appointments are €70

The Royal Osteoporosis Society have certified Eva Flunkert as a Fracture Prevention Practitioner.

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