Has your doctor told you that you have brittle bones? Maybe you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis? You’re probably wondering what this means and what significance it has on your life? This blog will discuss the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis and explain what can be done to reverse the condition.
Let’s start with the difference between osteopenia and osteoporosis. Both conditions refer to bone density, which is the amount of mineral content in your bones. In osteopenia, bones are not as dense as they should be, but they haven’t reached the critical level of bone loss observed in osteoporosis. It can be viewed as a stage or precursor to osteoporosis, and if not addressed, it may progress to the more severe condition. Both conditions are diagnosed through a Bone Mineral Density (BMD) test, which is a type of x-ray. So why does it matter if your bones are brittle? Having weak bones increases the risk of fractures, even with minor incidents or stresses. Severe fractures, especially hip fractures, in individuals with osteoporosis can be associated with an increased risk of mortality, particularly in older adults.
The good news is both osteopenia and osteoporosis are manageable and treatable conditions. Lifestyle changes, including a calcium and vitamin D-rich diet, weight-bearing exercises, and medications prescribed by your doctor, can help prevent further bone loss and reduce the risk of fractures. Early detection, proactive management, and preventive measures are crucial in maintaining optimal bone health and minimizing the consequences associated with these conditions.
How can physiotherapy help with your brittle bones? If you’ve been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, physiotherapist can provide you with an effective exercise program to increase the strength of your bones. Depending on the stage of your condition, some exercises may need to be avoided, and physiotherapists have the expertise to create a program that is safe and effective for you. The components of an effective exercise program to treat brittle bones will include:
- Weight bearing exercises. Weight bearing exercises are essential to increase the bone matrix and create strong bones. Exercises such as walking, step ups and jumping on trampoline are examples of how we incorporate weight bearing.
- Resistance training. Resistance training is important to increase the strength of the muscles and provide better support to the skeletal system. Having strong muscles will also reduce the risk of falling and in turn suffering a fracture.
- Balance and coordination training. If balance is a concern for an individual, including balance exercise will further reduce the risk of falls.
If you have a been told you have brittle bones, have been diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis or you’re just interested in knowing what you can do maintain good bone health, get in touch with one of the physiotherapist at Bend + Mend.