Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens bones within the human body, making them increasingly more fragile over time. This makes our bone structure more susceptible to fractures and breakages. This condition develops slowly over several years and is difficult to recognise early on in its development.
One of the clearest signs of osteoporosis is a bone fracture caused by a minor fall or impact injury. People with osteoporosis most commonly experience fractures of the vertebrate, with a higher risk of wrist and hip fractures too.
Does Osteoporosis Cause Pain?
Osteoporosis isn’t usually painful on a day-to-day basis. The only real pain occurs after a fracture, although spinal fractures can cause long-term pain. In some cases, just a simple sneeze or vigorous cough can cause something as severe as a rib fracture. There are certain characteristics for the elderly too, such as a stooped posture. This may be a clear indication of osteoporosis, as this often happens when the bones in the spine have fractured or been damaged in some way.
Who Suffers from Osteoporosis?
Losing bone density is a normal part of the human ageing process, yet some individuals lose bone density much faster than others. For example, women lose bone density very quickly in the first few years following the menopause. In fact, women are generally more at risk of osteoporosis altogether, yet even more so if the menopause begins before the age of 45.
Alternative sufferers of this condition may include individuals with low body mass index, heavy drinkers/smokers, long-term users of medication and people with a family history of osteoporosis.
How Do I Know if I Have Osteoporosis?
If your doctor thinks you have osteoporosis, they may refer you for a DEXA (DXA) scan. This is a short and painless procedure used to assess your bone mineral density. Your results will be compared to that of a healthy young adult and someone who is the same age and gender. The difference between them is calculated as a standard deviation (SD) – called a T score.
- A T score above -1 SD is considered normal.
- Anything between -1 and -2 SD is described as decreased bone density compared with peak bone mass.
- A T score below -2.5 is defined as osteoporosis for sure.
If your doctor feels you may require treatment, they will suggest the safest and most effective plan for your personal needs. This may be based on a number of factors, including age, sex and the results of your DEXA scan.
Physio Can Help Prevent and Live with Osteoporosis
If you’re at risk of developing osteoporosis, you should do all you can to ensure your bones are as healthy as possible. Regular exercise and healthy eating will help to prevent the condition from developing. It can also help existing sufferers cope with the condition.
Physio can significantly help in this way too. This will help strengthen your bone structure as well as the muscles in your body. Physio can also prevent bone thinning, reduce the risk of falls and help manage pain. Bone is a living tissue and like any other living tissues in the body, it can be improved by various forms of exercise.
A physiotherapist will work with you to find activities and exercise regimes that suit your specific needs. This will strengthen your bones and help you to manage any pain caused as a result of osteoporosis.
Contact Physio Leeds today and book an appointment to discuss your Osteoporosis and learn about the options for managing and treating the condition.