fbpx
Your first step to recovery

Osteoporosis

 

Osteoporosis is a condition which results in weak and brittle bones- to such degree that a fall or even mild stresses like coughing or bending over may result in a fracture. Bones are living tissues which are continually being broken down and replaced. However, your bones become osteoporotic when the formation of new bone does not keep up with the loss of old bone. This condition typically develops over time without any pain or other major symptoms, and is generally not diagnosed until you have sustained a fracture. The hip, pelvis, upper arm, spine and wrists are the most common structures affected by osteoporosis- related fractures.

 

 

How do you know if you have Osteoporosis?

 

Because there are no obvious early warning signs and symptoms, it is difficult to pre-diagnose osteoporosis. You may be unaware that you have this condition perhaps till you have one of the following:

  • Sustained a fracture from an incident more easily than you should have- like a simple fall or a bump
  • A decrease in the height of your spinal vertebrae over time
  • Change in posture – stooping or bending forwards
  • Back pain, due to a fractured or collapsed vertebra

Please see your doctor if you experience the following:

  • If you are over the age of 50 and have sustained a fracture
  • Sustained a spine, wrist, or hip for the first time
  • Sustained a fracture more easily than you should have (a simple fall or after a slight bump)

 

Risk factors

Key factors which may increase your risk of developing osteoporosis include:

  • Females- particularly post-menopausal Caucasian and Asian women
  • Over the age of 50
  • Excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Having a smaller or petite body frame
  • Poor physical activity levels and leading a very sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Having low levels of vitamin D and poor dietary calcium intake
  • Decreasing levels of testosterone with ageing in men
  • Estrogen deficiency in women (irregular periods, early (before turning 40) or post-menopausal, surgical removal of the ovaries)
  • Use of long-term medication such as thyroid and epilepsy medications, corticosteroids
  • Having medical conditions such as gastrointestinal diseases; endocrine diseases; rheumatoid arthritis; cancer; and blood disorders

 

 

How will you be diagnosed?

Your doctor will review your signs and symptoms, family and medical history. You may be referred on for a specialized X-ray or CT scan to evaluate the bone density to help diagnose osteoporosis. Your bone density will be classified by comparing it to the typical bone density for a person of equivalent gender, size, and age.

 

 

How is Osteoporosis treated?

The treatment pathway chosen for the management of this condition is dependent on results of your bone density scan, gender, age, medical history and severity of the condition. Potential treatments for osteoporosis may include exercise, making positive lifestyle changes, vitamin and mineral supplements, and medications. Please consult your doctor for appropriate advice and treatment options.

 

 

How can Physiotherapy help?

 

Your physiotherapist will help you strengthen your bones and your muscles through a personalized and graduated rehabilitation program. Components of this rehabilitation program may include weightbearing aerobic exercises, resistance training using free weights/resistance bands/bodyweight resistance, and exercises to enhance posture, balance and body strength. Your physiotherapist will work with you to find activities that suit your needs and as per your physical activity level.

 

 

Arthritis

ARE YOU IMPACTED BY ARTHRITIS ON A DAILY BASIS?

What is Osteoarthritis?  

Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes pain, discomfort and stiffness at our joints. It is the most common form of arthritis worldwide.

The intensity of the pain is different for each individual person. Osteoarthritis can occur at any joint, however it most commonly impacts the hips, knees and hands.

 

Signs/Symptoms

The symptoms of osteoarthritis usually start gradually and increase over time. You may experience pain, tenderness and clicking/crackling sounds with movement.

Swelling: Commonly occurs around the affected joints and soft tissues.

Pain: Joint pain usually increases during/after activity or movement. It can also increase due to inactivity.

Stiffness: Can be present first thing in the morning or after activity.

Reduced range of motion: You may be unable to move the joint freely through the normal range.

Causes:

In normal day to day life we are constantly loading our joints causing low level damage. The majority of the time our bodies heal naturally and you never experience any symptoms.

Osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage that cushions our joints breaks down over time. This can lead to bony growth within our joints and inflammation. Eventually, our connective tissues that support our joints deteriorate.

Risk factors for developing Osteoarthritis:

  • Previous joint injury- Sporting or old injuries
  • Age Increased risk as you get older.
  • Sex – More common in females
  • Family history- There is some evidence of family/genetic links.
  • Obesity- Being overweight increases the stresses and strains on our joints.

Diagnosis

Clinical examination of the joint: assessing for signs of swelling, tenderness and/or loss of motion. Gathering information on the injury history and symptoms.

X-ray: Cartilage loss does not appear on X-ray imaging. However a narrowing of space between the bones can be seen. Bony spurs around the joint can also be identified.

MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging: Provides detailed images of soft tissue and bony structures. For the majority of cases it is not used to diagnose osteoarthritis but can help in more complex cases.

Treatment options: Conservative management

Osteoarthritis requires long-term management. Although there is no cure for osteoarthritis, treatments can reduce pain and get you moving better.

Mild symptoms/early stages:

  • low impact exercises – walking, swimming, cycling, strength training
  • reducing overall body weight (if overweight)
  • wearing supportive footwear
  • using aids/walking devices to reduce overall joint loading

Medication:

If your symptoms are more severe and you are finding the pain difficult to manage, speak to your GP or pharmacist about painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs.

Physiotherapy:

  • Detailed assessment of your individual needs
  • Structured and progressive rehabilitation plan
  • Advice on self management

Non-conservative management:

If symptoms are more severe and you are not getting relief from the above options, you may benefit from procedures such as:

Steroid injection

An injection may be indicated to relieve persistent pain, following a trial of conservative management.

Surgery

Joint replacement surgery is an option in more severe cases, again following a trial of conservative management. Note: there is rehabilitation required before and after surgery. It is not a quick fix option.

How we can help

  • Provide a detailed assessment and advice on your current symptoms and best treatment options available.
  • Prescribe you a structured plan
  • Onward referral to a specialist or further imaging if indicated