An estimated three million people in the UK have osteoporosis. While its diagnosis is usually conducted by a doctor using radiography, many patients will develop symptoms that result in them consulting an osteopath first.
Although osteopathic manual therapy cannot cure osteoporosis, osteopaths can play a key role not only in identifying patients suffering from the condition, but also in offering practical advice on risk factors, prevention and treatment.
Patients at risk of osteoporosis can be given helpful lifestyle advice, emphasising the importance of a healthy balanced diet to provide all the essential vitamins and nutrients that the bones need, and pointed towards a safe and sensible exercise regime.
As well as avoiding prolonged bed rest, patients can often beneficially take up gentle weight-bearing activities such as gym and dancing - although caution is advised with vigorous, high impact exercises.
Prevention of further problems can come in the form of sensible lifestyle advice to reducing the tripping hazards in the home and improving balance through Tai Chi, pilates or other balance exercises. Stopping smoking is also advisable, as well as ensuring that one’s alcohol intake is in moderate.