Osteopathy and later life


Osteopathy helping you in later life


As we grow older, our body undergoes a series of physiological changes to our muscles, ligaments, bones and joints life can bring on more aches and pains. At OsteoVision we have dedicated and trained practitioners who understand the relationship between the body’s tissue changes and age, and can help keep you healthier, active and managing conditions associated with age such as rheumatic pain, arthritis and osteoporosis.


Through osteopathic treatment, the joints and muscles can be released of their tension and loosen up to help improved mobility. Treatment can help to improve deterioration in posture with gentle stretching and soft tissue techniques to help realign the spine.


How are our bones affected by ageing?


Osteoarthritis (Degeneration of the joint cartilage) and Osteoporosis (Degeneration of the bone density causing bones to be weaker), are the most common conditions to effect our bones as we get older.

Osteoarthritis mainly affects joints that are both weight-bearing and very mobile. The most commonly affected are:


  • Neck
  • Lower back
  • Hips
  • Base of thumb
  • Ends of fingers
  • Knees
  • Big toes

Risk factors for Osteoarthritis:


  • Trauma, such as: unexpected trips or falls, car accidents or even sporting injuries can make joints less robust and more susceptible to osteoarthritis in later years.
  • AgeOsteoarthritis usually starts from our late 40s onwards.
  • Gender Osteoarthritis is more common in females and Caucasian women
  • Obesity overweight contributes to additional strain on the weightbearing joints such as hips and knees.
  • Joint injury An injury (or operation) on a joint may lead to osteoarthritis in that joint later in life. This can be caused by repetitive strain on the joint or physically demanding jobs, which can increase your risk of osteoarthritis
  • Joint abnormalities If you were born with abnormalities or developed them in childhood, then this can lead to earlier and more severe osteoarthritis than usual.(Eg. Perthes disease of the hips).
  • Genetic factors  family history of Nodal osteoarthritis (which particularly affects the hands of middle-aged women). Genetic factors play a smaller but still important part in osteoarthritis of the hip and knee.
  • Other types of joint disease Sometimes osteoarthritis is a result of damage from a different kind of joint disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.



Risk factors of osteoporosis:

  • Alcohol
  • Smoking
  • family history
  • lack of exercise
  • age
  • early menopause.

How are our muscles affected as we get older?

As the body ages and goes through the aging process, so do muscles of the body. Atrophy of muscles (muscle wasting) and loss of mass or muscle bulk (called sarcopenia) are key indicators of an ageing muscle. This is a natural phenomenon related to physiological ageing, but it is important to remember that sedentary lifestyles can accelerate the process.


The total quantity and size of muscle fibres generally begins to decrease with age and can be seen in people around the age of 50 years. The rate of falls in later years are increased as a result of the direct relationship between Loss of muscle mass and proper muscle function. Reasons for this include:

  • Denervation of the motor nerves that supply the muscles results in the loss of motor units and thus the total number of muscle fibres.
  • A decrease in the production of anabolic hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 also impairs the capacity of skeletal muscle to incorporate amino acids and synthesise proteins.

The ageing process affect muscles in the following ways:

  • Muscles take longer to respond and adapt to loads and stresses
  • The water content of muscle tendons decreases as we age and they then become less plastic.
  • The tissues become stiffer and less able to tolerate the stresses that we impose upon them.


What we can do to reduce the impact as we age:

  • Stretching to help maintain joint flexibility and increase joint mobility.
  • Resistance exercises or weight training to help increase muscle mass and strength.
  • Exercise to help maintain the body’s response time, as well as its ability to deliver and use oxygen efficiently.

At OsteoVision we have a team of trained practitioners who have experience with work with patients in later years of life. OsteoVision works closely with a team of highly respected and specialised musculoskeletal (MSK) experts, which include pain specialists, orthopaedic surgeons, rheumatologists, medicines review specialists, specialist MSK physiotherapists, acupuncturists, cognitive behavioural specialists as well as occupational health specialists who provide complete care across the range of MSK conditions and complexity / severity of disease.

We can provide a complete care package to help you manage your pain and refer you to the right person should you require any additional intervention.