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Over 200 million people worldwide have osteoporosis. However, osteoporosis tends to affect more women than men. Essentially, osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle and weak. This makes the bone tissue very susceptible to fractures and injury.
Maybe you’ve recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis, and you’re wondering if physiotherapy is the right treatment for you. Or perhaps you simply want to know more about it. Whatever the case may be, in this article, we’re going to explore more about osteoporosis and its causes, as well as the treatment available for it. Let’s take a look!
What Causes Osteoporosis?
When you have osteoporosis, your bone density has significantly declined. However, there are often no signs or symptoms until an unexpected fracture occurs.
Until 30 years of age, the body effectively rebuilds bone. In fact, it actually lays down more bone tissue than what you lose. After age 35, bone breakdown accelerates, especially if you don’t take steps to prevent or counteract it. In particular, menopausal women might find their bone density or breakdown happens even faster. This is why many women around 50 years of age are diagnosed with osteoporosis.
While age, activity, genetics, and other factors inevitably play a role in the development of osteoporosis, the following can also contribute to a greater risk of the development of this condition:
- Having an overactive thyroid, adrenal, or parathyroid glands
- Having undergone weight loss surgery
- Taking hormone therapies
- Celiac disease
- Blood disorders and diseases
Additionally, some medications may place you at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis, such as certain steroids and seizure medication. Osteoporosis can also arise due to inadequate calcium and vitamin D intake, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and heavy alcohol consumption.
For diagnosing osteoporosis, your doctor will perform a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test, which uses small amounts of radiation to determine the density of your bones in the hip, wrist, or spine.
Osteoporosis treatment usually involves lifestyle changes and medications. Typically, your specific treatment depends on what is causing your osteoporosis in the first place. Thus, your treatment may involve a combination of the following:
For the maintenance of strong bones, calcium is essential. However, many individuals don’t get enough. Consuming dairy products, such as milk and cheese, kale, broccoli, figs, or calcium supplements can help in this regard. It’s worth noting that it’s always best to try to obtain adequate calcium from the food you eat over supplementation.
Osteoporosis is only treated with medication if bone density scans show T-scores lower than -2.5. Medications, specifically for women, may include hormonal therapy, such as taking estrogen. Other medication may include certain drugs, like bisphosphonates, which prevent the body from re-absorbing bone tissue. Yet, these types of drugs are not a permanent solution due to side effects after long-term use.
On top of alterations to your diet, your doctor may also recommend exercise, as well as sun exposure for vitamin D production within the body. Vitamin D is made with cholesterol in the skin. In fact, all it takes is about 15-20 minutes of sun exposure each day for your body to make adequate vitamin D.
Exercise is further essential for helping to strengthen your bones. It signals to the body to lay down new bone tissue. In particular, strength training or walking is beneficial for this since it loads the body, which again signals your body and its system to build new bone.
Additionally, limiting your alcohol consumption and quitting smoking can improve your overall health, potentially contributing to improved bone density.
A physiotherapist can prescribe suitable exercises for you and your condition, as well as offer advice regarding your specific lifestyle factors. In fact, a physiotherapist can work alongside you to come up with an appropriate exercise program that caters to you and your needs. They can also provide manual therapy and other modalities to help combat any pain caused by osteoporosis or associated injuries.
If you’re hunting for a physiotherapist in Winnipeg, the Corydon Physiotherapy team is here to help. We can guide you toward optimal health and ultimately, a better life. Don’t let your pain or condition stand in the way of you enjoying your life in the best way possible. Book your appointment today by calling us at 204-900-8297.