Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Living with osteoporosis

There is no cure for osteoporosis (poor bone density), but lifestyle changes and falls prevention can help reduce the onset or progression of osteoporosis and reduce fracture risk:

  • Make lifestyle changes as early as possible to avoid osteoporosis developing.
  • Tai chi (a form of martial art) exercises have been shown to prevent falls.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake.
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of calcium-containing foods, such as dairy products.
  • Try to do 30 minutes of weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, every day.
  • Have moderate exposure to sunlight (but avoid sunburn); sunlight encourages your body’s natural production of vitamin D.

Reduce your risk of falling

  • Ask for a review of your medicines; some can cause dizziness or drowsiness and make falls more likely.
  • Have your eyesight checked; you need good sight to avoid tripping over or bumping into objects.
  • Avoid high heels and wear non-slip soles.
  • A walking stick or frame can help your balance if you are unsteady when walking.
  • Hip protectors will decrease the risk of fractures after falling.
  • An occupational therapist can assess for any household risks.
  • If you live alone, and are at risk of falling, consider having an alert system (preferably one that can be worn around your neck or wrist) that can be activated if you fall and cannot move.
  • Eliminate home hazards - always keep your home well lit and remove all loose wires and cords that you may trip over. Make sure treads, rugs and carpets are secure. Keep rubber mats by the sink and in the bath to prevent slipping and always clean up spills immediately. Install grab rails in the bathroom and toilet to help you stand up without falling. Your doctor may be able to provide support and advice about safety in the home.
  • Ask for help - if you know you have osteoporosis, avoid standing on chairs to reach high cupboards or change a light bulb. Also, try to avoid doing chores that you know will cause more pain. Write a list of the jobs that need to be done around the house and save it for the next time your friends or family visit.

Medications

  • If you have osteoporosis, there are effective medications available to prevent it getting worse.
  • People with osteoporosis will usually have their vitamin D levels checked. If they are low, supplements may be suggested by your doctor.
  • Calcium supplements may be suggested if your diet is low in calcium.

Getting support

If you have any questions, your doctor may be able to reassure you. You may also find it helpful to talk to a trained counsellor or psychologist, or to someone at a specialist helpline. Your doctor's surgery will have information on these.

Some people find it helpful to talk to others who have osteoporosis, either at a local support group or in an internet chat room.

Recovering from a broken bone

Although your genes determine your potential height and the strength of your skeleton, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise can influence how healthy your bones are.

Broken bones usually take six to eight weeks to recover. Having osteoporosis does not affect how long this takes. Recovery depends on the type of fracture you have. Some fractures heal easily, but others may require more intervention.

If you have a complicated wrist fracture or hip fracture, you may need an operation to make sure that the bone is set properly. Hip replacements are often needed after hip fractures and some people may lose mobility as a result of weakened bones.

Osteoporosis can cause a loss of height as a result of fractures in the spinal column. This means the spine is no longer able to support your body's weight and it causes a hunched posture. This can be painful when it occurs, but it may also lead to long-term pain (chronic pain). Your doctor may be able to help with this.

During the healing process, you may need the help of a physiotherapist or occupational therapist so you can make as full a recovery as possible.

You should be able to continue to work when you have osteoporosis.

Coping with pain

The experience of pain is unique to every individual, so what works for you may differ from what works for someone else. There are a number of different ways of managing pain, including:

  • drug treatment
  • heat treatment, such as warm baths or hot packs
  • cold treatment, such as cold packs relaxation techniques, such as simple methods of relaxation, massage or hypnosis.

To manage your pain, it is possible to use more than one of these approaches at the same time (for example, using a drug treatment, heat pack and relaxation techniques).

Last reviewed: September 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 161 results

Living with Osteoporosis | Osteoporosis Australia

If you are diagnosed with osteoporosis or have a high risk of breaking a boneyour doctor will prescribe a medicine to strengthen your bones and help prevent fractures. Prescribed medicine plays an essential role inmanagingosteoporosis. Your doctor will also ensure that you: have adequate calcium, vitamin D and exercise to support your bone health stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake and change anyhabits that mayimpact on your bones are monitored for any conditions/medications that affect bone health.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Real Stories | Osteoporosis Australia

Real Stories What does a world famous Lead Guitarist, former AFL Coach, University Dean and a Documentary Producer have in common?Well theyre all busyand they all care about their bones. Living with low bone density or osteoporosis means taking action to improve your bone health. Many thanks to the following individuals who have taken the time to share their stories with us to encourage us all to take better care of our bones.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Osteoporosis Services | Osteoporosis Australia

Simply select a service from the drop down menu below, and enter your postcode (or suburb) to locate a service near you. If you are looking for a physiotherapist you can visit the directory hosted by the Australian Physiotherapy Association

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to become weak and lose their strength, making them break more easily than normal bones. It affects more women than men.

Read more on MOVE muscle, bone & joint health website

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis affects the strength and quality of the bones, causing weakness in the skeleton.

Read more on WA Health website

Risk factors | Osteoporosis Australia

Risk factors for osteoporosis

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Diagnosis | Osteoporosis Australia

How is osteoporosis diagnosed? Explaining a Bone Denisty Scan

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Men | Osteoporosis Australia

Currently 23% of people with osteoporosis - almost a quarter, are men.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Post Fracture Recovery | Osteoporosis Australia

Osteoporosis can result in fractures.

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

What is it? | Osteoporosis Australia

What is osteoporosis? Osteoporosis is a common diseaseaffecting over 1 million Australians. This disease makes bones become brittle leading to a higher risk of breaksthan in normal bone. Osteoporosis occurs when bones lose minerals, such as calcium, more quickly than the body can replace them, causinga loss of bone thickness (bone density or mass).

Read more on Osteoporosis Australia website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback