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Pei-Jiun Cheah

Pei-Jiun Cheah

Osteoporosis or Osteopenia and Balance

Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become thin, weak and fragile, due to low bone density.

As such even a minor bump or fall due to poor balance can result in a fracture.

Most common areas fractured are the hip, arm, wrist or spine.

Depending on the severity of bone density loss sometimes mild stress such as bending over or coughing can cause a fracture.

Osteopenia is a condition when bone mineral density is lower than normal but not low enough to be classified as osteoporosis. 




Some bone loss is normal as people age. However, some people experience greater bone loss than normal. These are the reasons why. 

Estrogen Deficiencies in Women

Women are at a higher risk, especially after menopause. When estrogen levels are low, bone loss accelerates as the bones are no longer able to replenish mineral stores as efficiently as needed.

Inactive Lifestyle

The bones need exercise (forces and stresses) to maintain their health and strength, much like other tissues of the body. Lack of physical activity is more likely to incur greater rates of bone loss, which leads to osteoporosis in men and women alike.

Calcium Deficiencies

Eating a poor diet lacking in calcium and vitamin D are contributors as well. Bones are constantly losing and replacing minerals. Calcium is important for the strength of bones, but it is also needed in the bloodstream for the body’s organs. If there is not enough calcium in the bloodstream, the blood will use the bones’ calcium stores, leaving the bones more brittle. 

Vitamin D is just as important for keeping bones strong as it helps your intestine absorb calcium from what you eat. Sunlights triggers the body to make its own vitamin D and is essential for bone health.


If you have a family history of low bone density or other genetic health conditions like digestive problems or cystic fibrosis, you may be more prone to develop osteoporosis. 



How can Physiotherapy help with osteoporosis/osteopenia?

Physiotherapy has been shown to be effective in managing osteoporosis/osteopenia. 

We can teach you how to incorporate strengthening and loading/weight bearing exercises that can improve bone mineral density by stimulating bone growth and slowing the process of degeneration. 

Balance is also an important aspect. Balance and coordination exercises can help reduce falls risk and fall-related fractures.

Many people with osteoporosis are fearful of doing strength and other strenuous exercise. However, we need a certain amount of impact/load or extra strain to stimulate bone growth. Regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises can decrease the risk of fracture by increasing bone strength. 

Posture is another important aspect. Poor posture can worsen the condition. As we age the space between our vertebral discs decrease. This results in loss of overall height and increased flexion through the thoracic spine. This added flexion force can cause gradual fractures of the thoracic vertebrae and wedging of the vertebra. Upper back, mobility and core strengthening exercises will help elongate your spine to maintain more optimal posture.

For those of you with Bone Density issues we have a specific class tailored to help you improve your bone density, strength and balance. It’s our 60 minute online Bones & Balance class. Rosie runs the class and it’s on at 9.15am Tuesdays.

If you would like a more personalised program our Physiotherapists can assess where you currently are and will design and supervise an appropriate exercise program tailored to your individual needs. They can then direct you to what would be best suited for you be it one or a combo of – Physio Exercise Classes, Pilates Studio Sessions, Bones & Balance Class or private physiotherapy sessions.

We will focus on helping you gain more awareness of your habitual postures, and strengthen your postural muscles including your core, lower and upper back to help elongate your spine. Your balance and coordination will also be challenged by prescribing loaded weights and weight bearing exercises to boost your bone density.


Contact us for more information on how we can help you boost your self confidence and promote healthy and active lifestyles. 


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