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Tips for Osteoporosis

British Columbians 50+ should be assessed for osteoporosis to identify if they are at high risk

BC physiotherapists share 4 tips to treat osteoporosis and keep British Columbians moving for life.

Men and women over the age of fifty are at risk for osteoporosis, a disease marked by reduced bone strength leading to an increased risk of fractured or broken bones.  Osteoporosis is the major underlying cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and in the elderly.  Often, a fracture of the hip, spine, or wrist is the first sign.  BC’s physiotherapists want to share their Physio-4 for osteoporosis, 4 tips on how to treat osteoporosis, to keep British Columbians moving for life.

“Therapeutic exercise, a well-balanced and nutritious diet that includes calcium and vitamin D can improve your bone health and strength,” says Rebecca Tunnacliffe, CEO of the Physiotherapy Association of BC.  “If you have been diagnosed or are at risk for osteoporosis, working with your physiotherapist to develop an individualized weight-bearing exercise program is a good first step.”

1. Know your fracture risk.  Women and men over age 50 should be assessed for risk factors for osteoporosis and fracture to identify if they are at high risk.  Osteoporosis occurs most commonly in postmenopausal women, however prevention of this condition should begin in one’s 20’s.  Men and women should perform resistance type exercises throughout their lifetime to help reduce the decline in bone density.  Your physiotherapist will establish a strengthening program with resistance exercises to suit your risk factor and help you to build stronger bones.

2. Undertake weight-bearing exercise.  If you are diagnosed with low bone density or with osteoporosis, adopting a weight bearing and strength training exercise program will improve your bone health . It has been shown that weight-bearing exercise also improves muscle strength and balance and helps improve physical function and reduce pain.

3. Improve balance.  You can prevent falls and fractures by following a therapeutic exercise program designed to improve balance and coordination.  This will also help to build bone density. Your physiotherapist can create an individualized exercise program for you.

4. Avoid repetitive bending and twisting.  Lifting or carrying loads that are disproportionate can be dangerous for those with low bone density.  Your physiotherapist can provide guidance on specific movements to avoid or how to move safely.

The Physiotherapy Association of BC created the Physio-4 to share the expertise of its members with fellow British Columbians. Each month, on movingforlife.ca 4 tips are provided to treat specific health or physical conditions that will help keep British Columbians moving for life.  BC’s physiotherapists want British Columbians to know that if they are injured or in pain, a physiotherapist can help.  After all, they are the healthcare professionals physicians recommend most.

To learn more about how physiotherapists keep British Columbians moving for life, visit movingforlife.ca.

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