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Bone Clinic leading the world in osteoporosis management

Bone Clinic leading the world in osteoporosis mana
Photo: Bone Clinic leading the world in osteoporosis management
The Bone Clinic, a world-first Queensland-based research facility and clinical practice, is providing targeted exercise therapy, dietary advice, bone scans and education specifically for osteoporosis.

Founder Professor Belinda Beck says until recently there hasn’t been any one single place where people can go for treatment of osteoporosis, which makes the clinic so unique.

“Orthopaedic surgeons perform hip replacements, but they don’t typically treat osteoporosis.

“GPs often refer patients to endocrinologists or rheumatologists because of the relationship of bone health to hormones, but osteoporosis therapy involves much more than hormones and medicine.

“We conduct bone density scanning, nutritional advice and full functional assessments as well as the Onero exercise program, along with an educational program of seminars about osteoporosis.”
Onero is an evidence-based exercise program designed to prevent osteoporotic fracture by stimulating bone development. The Osteoporosis Australia endorsed program is delivered clinically at The Bone Clinic and is licensed to physiotherapists and affiliated training locations across the country.

Ongoing research is identifying that certain types of exercise keep bones healthy and restore bone density.

“Over the last seven years, we have run clinical trials at Griffith University to determine the best exercise for people with osteoporosis.

“We know exercise is beneficial, but certain activities can be dangerous with osteoporosis so must be supervised.

“Our goal is to apply the findings of our clinical exercise trials into the real-world setting,” says Professor Beck.

Clients agree to be research participants when they begin the Onero exercise program.

“We can determine the effectiveness of the exercise program beyond the lab setting.

“We test all clients at baseline and have regular assessments after they begin training with us.

“One of the most interesting aspects of our Onero exercise program is that people who have osteoarthrosis at the knee or hip think they can’t possibly do it. But we ran a study that showed they could.”

Dawn Johnson, a client at The Bone Clinic, was shocked to learn she had osteoporosis at the age of 62.

“I couldn’t really accept it at first. I’d always done all the right things with keeping fit, active and eating healthy.

“The Bone Clinic helped me understand that osteoporosis has a genetic link or that it could be due to a thyroid condition, and not anything related to my lifestyle.

“I’m looking forward to taking part in the exercise program and hope that I’ll be in the vast majority of people who show significant benefits,” says Mrs Johnson. 

Professor Beck says she became interested in the effect of exercise on bone when she kept getting shin splints as a result of athletics and hockey at high school. 

“My search for a remedy led me down the path of bone physiology at university, and I have been hooked ever since! Bone is an incredible tissue and very responsive to loading.”

The program is crucial to improve the lives of those living with osteoporosis, but it’s valuable on the economic front, too.

“People don’t realise the seriousness of an osteoporotic fracture. Folks who would have been able to remain in their own home for most of their life can end up in a nursing home after a hip fracture,” says Professor Beck.  

During the pandemic, The Bone Clinic closed for four months as the majority of clients were in the most at-risk group for Covid-19 complications.

“It would actually have been easier not to reopen, but so many people are relying on us we couldn’t let them down.

“Preventing osteoporotic fracture is not just a matter of taking care of individuals; it’s of vast economic benefit for the country!

“A hip fracture costs just under $30,000, and they are happening every day. Not to mention all the other osteoporotic fractures of the spine, forearm and pelvis.”

Looking forward, The Bone Clinic is investigating whether the combination of osteoporosis medications and the Onero exercise program reduces the risk of osteoporotic fracture.

“We don’t have those results yet, but it is looking very positive, so watch this space.”

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Haley Williams

Haley Williams has a Bachelor of Communication in Journalism and over a decade of experience in the media, marketing and communications industries.

She is a widely published journalist with a particular interest in writing magazine features on parenting, health, fitness, nutrition and education.

Before becoming a freelance journalist, Haley worked as a writer for NeoLife (a worldwide nutrition company), News Limited and APN News & Media.

Haley also has extensive experience as an SEO Content Writer and Digital Marketing Strategist.