Treatment for osteoporosis

There are a number of treatments prescribed for osteoporosis.

Medication – your doctor can prescribe bone-strengthening medication along with vitamin D and calcium supplements

Good nutrition – take in calcium-rich foods, such as broccoli, kale and dairy products, and vitamin D foods such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, egg yolks and cheese.

Reduce your sodium intake and eat lots of fruit and vegetables.

Prevent falls. Twenty percent of people die within the first year after an osteoporotic hip fracture, while fifty percent never regain their independence.

Exercise – this is where your physiotherapist can play an important role. Your physiotherapist can devise an exercise programme tailored to your needs.

Exercise improves bone health, corrects posture and prevents falls by improving balance. It also assists in the recovery process after a fracture. It is never too late to start exercising.

Two types of exercise are important for maintaining strong, dense bones.

  • Weight-bearing exercises are activities you do with your bones working against gravity to support your weight. Weight-bearing exercises include walking, jogging, hiking, dancing, skipping, tennis and soccer.
  • Resistance exercises are where you use your muscles to lift weights, or use resistance bands.

Group exercise can be fun, motivational and improve your social life!

Physiotherapy post fracture
If you fracture a wrist, or hip, physiotherapy can help you to regain mobility and strength in your joint.

Vertebral fractures are very common and can be particularly painful. Physiotherapy can help alleviate pain during the healing phase with gentle exercise, breathing techniques, heat packs, acupuncture, massage to reduce muscle spasm, and electrotherapy.

Once the fracture has healed your physiotherapist can recommend exercises to reduce the possibility of future fractures. Your physiotherapist can also advise you on how to create a safe environment at home and the use of appropriate mobility aids/support if needed.

Information sourced from International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation South Africa

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