A background to osteoporosis
Physiotherapy for osteoporosis – is it a form of treatment that might help you with the condition? And if so, how can it help?
We take a quick look at this question. But before we do we need to take a closer look at osteoporosis to find out what it is, and why it is so debilitating.
What is osteoporosis and what causes it?
It is a thinning of the bones due to bone loss and can cause the bones to become more brittle.
Because most of the bones you see tend to be in meat or on a skeleton or in a dinosaur museum, it is easy to forget that your bones are alive. In fact, the cells in your bones are being replaced continually, and you replace most of your skeleton about every 10 years.
However, when osteoporosis kicks in, the bones are not producing new cells at a fast enough rate to replace those cells that are dying off. The thick matrix network that bones normally have gets a lot thinner and the bones become far more vulnerable and susceptible to fractures and breakages.
There isn’t really a single cause, experts believe that a combination of causes is often to blame for bone loss. These causes can include insufficient calcium in your diet, lack of estrogen in women or lack of testosterone in men. Other factors that can affect the condition include lack of vitamin D, thyroid conditions, and a sedentary lifestyle.
Poor lifestyle habits such as smoking and too much alcohol can also have an effect.
Physiotherapy for osteoporosis – the benefits
Physiotherapy is described as a manual therapy. The goal is to avoid the use of drugs or surgery if possible. Instead, a combination of modalities such as massage, heat treatment and exercise is used to treat patients.
It is a treatment that aims to restore the function and movement of the body through physical interventions.
One of the key things a physiotherapist can do for you is to prescribe and facilitate safe exercises. Patients are often wary of exercising in case they exaggerate the condition or cause themselves further injury. A skilled physiotherapist will not only know your safe limits but will prescribe exercises that are optimum for your recovery. Exercise plays a vital role in strengthening weak bones.
But their role is not purely about prescribing exercises. They also have a role to play in reducing the risk of falls, promoting extended posture, reducing pain, and improving mobility and function.
And because each individual is so different, they take an active role in monitoring your progress and factoring in your personal background and physical abilities.
Their ability to respond to your particular needs aids your progress and is very reassuring on your road to recovery.
As always, if you are worried about the severity of your condition, be sure to refer to your General Practioner.
But whatever you do, don’t feel defeated by osteoporosis, in the right hands, you can make good progress.