Living with osteoporosis and broken bones
Osteoporosis, and the fractures it causes, is a long term condition, so essentially there is no cure. However, many people who have fragile or broken bones continue to lead full and active lives and learn to manage their condition very well.
Watch Dorothy's video to find out how she copes with her osteoporosis.
So what can you do? Take control back by following our top tips:
1. Consider a drug if your risk of a fracture is high
Drug treatments will help to reduce your risk of breaking another bone.
2. Tackle pain
Bones heal in 6-8 weeks but pain and other problems may continue for longer. Recovering from a broken hip can be a long process and you may need a referral to a physiotherapist and social services.
Simple over-the-counter pain relievers, or stronger pain relieving drugs prescribed by your GP, can make a big difference if taken properly. A referral to an NHS pain clinic may sometimes be necessary. Drug free ways to manage pain include physiotherapy, hydrotherapy (exercise in water) or using a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine.
Complementary therapies, like acupuncture, homeopathy, the Alexander Technique and aromatherapy, may also be of some benefit
Specialists sometimes use a surgical procedure called percutaneous vertebroplasty or kyphoplasty to help with painful spinal fractures although these techniques are not widely available in the UK.
3. Remember the importance of a healthy lifestyle
There are various measures you can take to ensure that you live a healthy lifestyle. Changing the way you live your life can play an important part in building strong and healthy bones.
4. Share your experiences with others
Talking to people with similar experiences can help. The National Osteoporosis Society has a Telephone Helpline staffed by nurses which is open weekdays between 9am and 5pm. They also answer your emails and letter. We also have a network of local support groups, which are run by and for people with osteoporosis.
We have an online discussion forum, our osteoporosis forum, where you can share your experiences with others online.
Our information booklet All About Osteoporosis also contains lots of useful information related to the disease and how to cope with it.
Healthtalkonline is a website which lets you share in other people's experiences of health and illness. You can watch or listen to videos and read all about people's experiences of osteoporosis at:
The National Osteoporosis Society is not responsible for the content on Healthtalkonline but you may find it useful.
All About Osteoporosis
All about osteoporosis is our in-depth 66-page book which comprehensively covers everything you need to know about osteoporosis and fragility fractures. To download it, please go to our Information leaflets and booklets page.
This leaflet covers information on complementary and alternative therapies which may be helpful for symptom and pain relief, for those people who have sustained fractures. It gives an overview of acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, homeopathy and herbal medicine. Also the practice of osteopathy and chiropractic are discussed. Exercise and movement therapies included are: The Alexander technique, Pilates, Tai Chi and Yoga. Finally it includes a section on natural progesterone.
This leaflet gives a wealth of information for those people living with fractures caused by osteoporosis. It includes practical hints and tips to help in the home, about equipment and aids for independent living, safety issues to prevent falls and information on Disabled Living Centres. Holidays and insurance and information on accessibility whilst travelling are discussed. A section on benefits and financial assistance includes attendance allowance, disability living allowance, carer’s allowance and pension credit. Finally it covers community care and social services -including how to get a community care assessment and paying for services via direct payments.
Vertebral compression fractures (spinal compression fractures) can cause severe muscular spasm and nerve pain, disability, and adversely affect quality of life. Percutaneous vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty are two surgical procedures usually undertaken following a recent spinal fracture (within 12 months). They involve the injection of surgical cement into the vertebra. These techniques are used to relieve pain and stabilise the fractured vertebrae. Risks with percutaneous vertebroplasty and balloon kyphoplasty can include cement leaks, pulmonary embolus and new fractures.
More information from us
Our osteoporosis helpline can offer you advice and support by telephone, email, or letter.
For more details about the information in these publications, you can visit Leaflets and Booklets page.
For further support you may want to visit our online osteoporosis discussion forum.