It is estimated that around 3 million people in the UK have osteoporosis. October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day. Screening and early diagnosis are critical to prevention of osteoporosis, and osteopaths can help.

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the usually strong structure which makes up the inside of bones becomes thinner. This leads to affected bones becoming fragile and having a tendency to break more easily, resulting in pain and disability.

Osteoporosis is often a silent condition, giving no pain or other symptoms to alert you to its existence until the worst happens and a bone breaks.  As such, many people living with osteoporosis are unaware that they have fragile bones until this happens, sometimes with devastating consequences.

In the UK, 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men over the age of 50 will fracture a bone in the course of their lives, mostly due to poor bone health. Much of this is preventable.

World Osteoporosis Day is a year-long campaign dedicated to raising global awareness of the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal problems.


What causes Osteoporosis?

If you smoke, or drink alcohol in excess of the recommended daily intake, then you are are at greater risk. However, gender, genetic factors, age, race and low body weight are all contributing factors.

How can an osteopath help?

There is a lot you can do to prevent osteoporosis and to reduce your chance of breaking a bone if you do have the condition.  Osteopaths are often seen by the general public as experts in the field of bone health, and we are well placed to screen our patients for osteoporosis. We also offer practical advice on risk factors, prevention and treatment. Osteopaths screen you for the condition using a sophisticated algorithm, developed for clinicians by the World Health Organisation, which predicts the 10-year risk of sustaining a major osteoporotic fracture.

If you have osteoporosis

There is a lot you can do to reduce the chance of breaking a bone:

  • Eat a healthy diet, supplementing vitamin D and calcium if your GP advises
  • Enjoying regular exercise
  • Taking steps to prevent falls
  • Working on your balance

Patients who are assessed as being at risk of osteoporosis can be provided with dietary, exercise and lifestyle advice to help reduce the impact of the condition. Those that are found to be at moderate to high risk are advised to consult their GP and can be given a report on their risk factors to support their consultation.

Useful facts

  • By 2050, the worldwide incidence of hip fracture in men is projected to increase by 310% and by 240% in women
  • The majority of fragility fracture patients are neither assessed nor treated by their healthcare system
  • 1 in 5 women with a spinal fracture will suffer another one within a year
  • A fracture occurs every 3 seconds in the UK
  • If you’ve suffered one fracture you then have twice the risk of sustaining another
  • 80% of people who have had at least one osteoporotic fracture are neither identified nor treated for osteoporosis

For more information contact one of our osteopaths today.