Physiotherapists can access an expert, CSP-endorsed guide that aims to help healthcare professionals give safe, effective exercise advice to people with osteoporosis.
The National Osteoporosis Society has published Strong, Steady and Straight, an expert consensus statement on physical activity and exercise for osteoporosis.
The statement is designed to give exercise and healthcare professionals a better understanding about what types of physical activity are safe, effective and appropriate for people with osteoporosis and vertebral fractures.
CSP provided input to its development, along with a group of exercise professionals and clinical experts that included physiotherapist Julie Whitney, a physiotherapy lecturer at King’s College London and consultant practitioner in gerontology at King’s College Hospital.
Dr Whitney told Frontline the statement was developed to provide some clarity to clinicians and patients about the risks and benefits of exercise for people with osteoporosis.
‘There has always been some concern that exercise is potentially dangerous,’ she explained.
‘Which has meant some people diagnosed with osteoporosis have either stopped being active or haven’t felt confident about doing physical activity.
‘But we’ve spent the last two years examining available evidence, updating systemic reviews on exercise and reviewing adverse events in populations that are at high risk of osteoporosis.
‘And the overall evidence indicates that exercise is safe and there are far more benefits from participating in it than not.’
Tailored advice from physiotherapists
Dr Whitney added, however, that the statement suggests that certain patient groups – such as people with osteoporosis, or those with fragile bones who already have vertebral fractures – should seek advice from a physiotherapist about exercise.
‘The advice in the statement is tailored towards different patient groups,’ she explained.
‘As people with osteoporosis range from those who are well right up to older people who are at high risk of falling and fracturing a hip, and who may already have fractures.
‘But the overall message is that activity is good and we should be promoting being active to people with osteoporosis, and directing them about the best way to do that.’
Improving patient experience
CSP head of development and research Ruth ten Hove said: ‘This is a great opportunity for physiotherapists to raise their own understanding of osteoporosis and identify the optimal ways to support people to participate in physical activity.
‘This statement is underpinned by the best available evidence, and if comprehensively implemented will improve the patient experience and reduce unwarranted variation in physiotherapy.’
The charity also has plans to develop resources for the public, such as information leaflets and short exercise videos, which will help people with osteoporosis understand how to exercise safely and effectively.
‘This statement is aimed at physios, as well as other healthcare professionals,’ said Dr Whitney.
‘And it will prove useful for physios who see people with osteoporosis, for instance in musculoskeletal clinics, or in falls clinics and older people’s services.
‘But we are working on further resources for patients, and we are hoping to follow this up with courses and training for physios as well.’
The consensus statement is available as a free download from the National Osteoporosis Society website
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