Osteoporosis Self Help Guide

Pensioners exercising with dumbbells at the gym


What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones have become less dense, weaker and more fragile. It normally develops gradually and is often picked up when a minor trauma causes a broken bone (fracture).


Am I at risk?

Osteoporosis is more common in people who:

  • Have family history of Osteoporosis
  • Take high doses of oral steroids for more than 3 months
  • Do little weight bearing exercise
  • Drink heavily
  • Smoke
  • Have a bad diet, eating disorder or are underweight
  • Went through the menopause before age 45
  • Had their ovaries removed


Osteoporosis is more common in women but it does also affect men. It is also more common in older people.


What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis often has no symptoms and as previously mentioned is often only picked up after a minor accident or fall causes a fracture. Osteoporotic fractures are most common in the hips, spine and wrists. Back pain can occur when the spinal bones become weak and lose height (vertebral wedge fracture). Wedge fractures are most common in the mid and lower back and if a number of bones are affected can alter the shape of your spine, making it more curved. Sometimes wedge fractures occur without injury and sometimes, we find them on investigations such as MRI and x-rays of the spine, when we are looking for other things and the patient isn’t even aware that they have occurred. Wedge fractures that are painful, are normally treated conservatively with pain killers and Physiotherapy.


What can I do to help myself if I have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis?

  • Eat healthily, including foods rich in calcium and vitamin D
  • Take a daily supplement of 10mcg of vitamin D
  • Make lifestyle changes, give up smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption
  • Take regular weight bearing exercise i.e. any activity that involves the use of body weight such as walking, running, gym based exercises and some yoga and Pilates exercises are great for building bone strength. Exercises like cycling and swimming, although excellent for your general health, muscle strength and getting your heart rate up, are non-weight bearing and therefore less beneficial if you have Osteoporosis and need to build up your bone strength.
  • A Physiotherapist can advise you the best exercises for you and can write you an exercise programme to follow. Please call us if you’d like a Physiotherapy session to teach you the best possible exercises for your Osteoporosis on 01245 505 866.



For more information on Osteoporosis including diagnosis and drug treatments, here are some useful links: