What Is Osteoporosis?

What Is Osteoporosis?

What is Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is decreased bone density, or weak bones. It can lead to brittle bones, which increases your chance of fractures, particularly if you have had falls in the past or have a high risk of falls/poor balance.

What causes Osteoporosis?

Many of the risk factors associated with osteoporosis are not easily modified, such as;

  • Being female (women start with a lower bone density than males and lose it at a faster rate due to a reduction in oestrogen after menopause)
  • Aged 55 years and over
  • Family history of osteoporotic fracture
  • Previous fracture
  • Some medications or multiple medication combinations, including prolonged corticosteroid use
  • Other medical conditions including malabsorption conditions (Coeliac disease, IBS)

Modifiable risk factors include;

  • High alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Lack of Vitamin D – either lack of sunlight exposure or dietary vitamin D
  • History of low BMI
  • Low or no physical activity

What are the symptoms of Osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis itself is not symptomatic, but there are several signs to look out for that might indicate osteoporosis. These include;

  • Presence or history of a fracture occurring after small force – e.g. fracturing a bone as a result of a bump or knock
  • Loss of height, usually over 4cm
  • Curved upper spine

The best way to diagnose Osteoporosis is to speak to your doctor and organise a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan). This is a scan of your body (usually your hip and your spine) to get a measure of your bone density. Osteoporosis is diagnosed when your bone density falls below a certain level. Osteopenia is low bone density but not as low as Osteoporosis.

How can Physiotherapy help in the management of Osteoporosis?

Physiotherapists help individuals maximise function through movement by improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility.

Research indicates that the maximum bone mass is achieved by the late twenties.  Adults should aim to maintain strong bones and optimise muscle strength through exercise.

Exercise causes stresses across the bone matrix resulting in increased bone density to cope with the load.  In contracts, inactivity can lead to weakened muscles and reduced bone load, therefore reducing bone density over time.

Research shows that both weight-bearing exercises and resistance training can promote bone health. The key, however, is to be doing exercise that is new or a challenge for the bones. If you are doing exercise that your bones are used to, then they see no reason to change.  So, for people doing resistance training, the exercises, or the weight used, needs to change periodically for bone health to keep improving.

A word of caution:

In the older person, changes in other areas of your body also occur. This includes our connective tissues – ligaments and tendons – meaning our joints are not as mobile or as strong as they once were. High- impact exercises, such as jogging, jumping or aerobic dance places more stress through the joints such as the hips and knees. More importantly, the reduced strength of our tendons and ligaments also influences our pelvic floor muscles.

What Fitwise can offer you?

  • Individualised consultations with experienced Physiotherapists to create an exercise program specific to you and your needs.
  • Fitwise runs ‘Strengthwise’ – an exercise class aimed at the mature woman. These fun group classes use weights and bands in a safe and effective manner to improve strength, flexibility and balance.

Dennise Smith
Senior Physiotherapist
Consulting at both our East Melbourne and Armadale practice

For more information, or to book, click on “Make a Booking” at the top of the page or call our friendly team on (03) 9822 4999 (Armadale) or (03) 9486 0512 (East Melbourne).  Alternatively, you can email us at [email protected] if you have any questions.



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Our Values

Our values are the basis of everything we do at Fitwise.

Excellence, Respect, Innovation and Fun – For our clients, for our team and for ourselves.

This is evident with the service we provide, the environment in which we provide it, the way in which we operate as a team and how we care for and value our clients, referral partners and ourselves; we live the Fitwise values every day.

Our culture is one where everyone feels supported, respected and safe. Our clients and our team, experience a leading-edge health environment where we remember to have fun along the way.

Our Story

In 2004, Gen McGlashan and Libby Oldfield founded Fitwise Physiotherapy. They first met in 1994.  Libby was Gen’s physio when she had her first child. Gen then worked for Libby for 10 years in Libby’s previous business, located at the Epworth Freemasons Maternity Unit in East Melbourne. They have been a team working together for a very long time!!

Libby and Gen have always had a passion for empowering women, by helping provide accurate evidence based information and treatment to help women live their best lives. Excellence in all that they do, practising and operating in an innovative way has always been their core. Fitwise was the first multi-practitioner practice providing Women’s Health physiotherapy consultations, exercise classes and clinical pilates in Melbourne.

Gen and Libby

In February 2005 Gen and Libby moved their one room practice to Albert St East Melbourne. They had expanded to 2 treatment rooms, an exercise studio and a pilates studio with a small team of physiotherapists and one receptionist. This was exciting as they wanted to be able to help more people and to grow their team – enabling their other passion: teaching and mentoring clinicians who also wanted to work within the Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health arena.

5 years later, they expanded their East Melbourne clinic and in 2015 opened their second clinic in Armadale.

Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and Dietetics have been an exciting addition in recent years, with Podiatry and Exercise Physiology being added in 2022.

Fitwise Physiotherapy | Armadale

The Fitwise team has now grown to include 18 amazing practitioners and 12 wonderful administrative team members and is still growing!

Libby and Gen have always loved providing a holistic service, treating a variety of conditions in consultations and providing exercise appropriate for different life stages. The community of clients that are part of the Fitwise family, (some who have been part of the journey from the very beginning – over 17 years ago), are the biggest reason they do what they do. For Gen and Libby, it is a privilege to be part of these wonderful people’s lives.