Osteoporosis is a condition characterized by weakened bones that become brittle and more prone to fractures, sometimes causing pain and changes in posture.

The basics

Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become weaker and more brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. It is often called a "silent disease" because it typically progresses without any symptoms until a fracture occurs.

Osteoporosis affects both men and women, but is more common in women, particularly after menopause. Risk factors for osteoporosis include a family history of the disease, low calcium and vitamin D intake, physical inactivity, smoking, and certain medications. Early diagnosis and treatment are important in managing osteoporosis and preventing complications such as fractures.

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The presentation of osteoporosis can be asymptomatic in the early stages, with symptoms only becoming apparent once a fracture has occurred. However, some people with osteoporosis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Back pain, caused by a vertebral fracture
  • Loss of height over time
  • A stooped posture or hunchback
  • Fractures that occur with minimal or no trauma, such as a fall from standing height or less

Symptoms of osteoporosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition, and not everyone with osteoporosis will experience all symptoms. It is important to seek medical attention if you are at risk of osteoporosis or are experiencing any of these symptoms to prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures.

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Therapies & treatments


There are several medications that can be prescribed by doctors to help prevent or treat osteoporosis. These may include bisphosphonates, hormone therapy, calcitonin, and selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs). Bisphosphonates, such as alendronate and risedronate, help to slow down the rate of bone loss and may even increase bone density.

Hormone therapy, which involves taking estrogen and progesterone, can help to prevent bone loss and improve bone density. Calcitonin is a hormone that can help to slow down the rate of bone loss, while SERMs, such as raloxifene, can help to increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.


Weight-bearing Exercise

Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and dancing, can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures in individuals with osteoporosis. A physiotherapist can work with the patient to develop a safe and effective exercise program based on their individual abilities and needs.

Strength Training

Strength training exercises, such as lifting weights, can help improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures in individuals with osteoporosis. A physiotherapist can work with the patient to develop a safe and effective strength training program based on their individual abilities and needs.

Balance Training

Improving balance and coordination can help reduce the risk of falls and fractures in individuals with osteoporosis. A physiotherapist can work with the patient to develop a balance training program that includes exercises such as standing on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, and practicing tai chi or yoga.

Nutrition Counseling

A practitioner can work with an individual with osteoporosis to develop a healthy and balanced diet that supports bone health. This may include increasing the intake of calcium and vitamin D, as well as other nutrients such as protein, magnesium, and potassium.

Occupational Therapy

OTs work with individuals to develop strategies and adaptations to help maintain their independence and function in daily life. This can include addressing issues such as home safety, mobility, and fall prevention. OTs may also provide guidance on exercise programs to help improve strength, balance, and coordination, which can help prevent falls and fractures. In addition, OTs can provide education on proper body mechanics and ergonomics to help reduce the risk of injury and strain on bones and joints.

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Self-care strategies

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise can help improve bone density, reduce pain, and improve overall health. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week, and choose activities that are enjoyable and sustainable.

Get Enough Calcium and Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone health, and many people with osteoporosis do not get enough of these nutrients. Talk to your healthcare provider about supplements or dietary changes that can help support bone health.

Practice Good Posture

Good posture can help reduce strain on the spine and improve overall comfort. Practice standing and sitting up straight, with your shoulders back and your chin level.

Manage Stress

Stress can worsen pain and reduce overall well-being. Practice stress-reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga to help manage stress and improve quality of life.

Fall Prevention

Falling can be a significant risk for people with osteoporosis, so it's important to take steps to reduce fall risk. This might include keeping floors clear of clutter, wearing sturdy, non-slip footwear, and using assistive devices such as grab bars or handrails.

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