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  • Retrain Health

You and Your Bone Density

As you all probably know, it's pretty important to have strong bones! Remember those ‘drink your milk’ ads…?

Bone density is the amount of material contained within your bone.

The matter comprising of bone, is primarily made up of calcium (milk…) and phosphorus.

A condition where you have lower than normal bone density, is known as osteopenia, and the furthering of this condition involves the development of osteoporosis. People who suffer from osteoporosis are at increased risk of fractures.

As we get older, we gradually begin to lose bone mass, and it becomes very much a use it or lose it scenario.

How is bone density assessed?

A bone density scan is performed by a DEXA machine. DEXA stands for dual energy X-ray absorptiometry.

It sends two X-ray beams, at different peak energy frequencies, to the target bones. One peak is absorbed by soft tissue and the other by bone.

A DEXA scan is the gold standard for assessment of bone density and a bone density test is the only test that can diagnose osteoporosis before a broken bone occurs.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors which play into the development and maintenance of bone mass which include:

· Low intake of dietary calcium (milk, cheese, yoghurts)

· Low vitamin D intake (sunshine, vitamin d supplementation)

· Low levels of physical activity and load bearing exercise

· Being a smoker

· Entering menopause before the age of 45

· Excessive alcohol intake (greater than 2 standard drinks daily)

What can I do?

As you will notice – a lot of these are lifestyle related, so the healthier lifestyle changes you can make the better your bones will be!

For the point of this blog, I will focus on the resistance training portion of the recommendation.

Your bones are like any other thing in your body – if you stress it (appropriately) it will adapt! If you are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis, one of the best things you can do is undertake a simple, safe resistance training program. This will not only strengthen your bones maintaining your current bone mass and preventing deterioration but will help prevent muscle loss (sarcopenia) as well!

Remember, resistance training IS for everyone, not just circus strongmen with silly moustaches!

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or osteopenia and are struggling to manage your condition, get in touch with the Osteopaths at Retrain Health for some help guiding and managing your condition.


Retrain Health is based in the Northern Rivers, NSW. From our Byron Bay and Ballina clinics, our team provides a range of quality healthcare services and products.

Retrain Health offers osteopathy, remedial massage, strength and conditioning, and PT sessions, with qualified practitioners.

If you are interested in finding out more information or would like to book an appointment, please contact the clinic by phone (02) 6680 7447, send us an email or click here to book an appointment online.

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