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Research on devastating bone disease at conference

Fresh research results relating to devastating bone disease to be heard at NZ physios conference

The release of new research information on treating people who have suffered falls will be of significant interest at the national physiotherapist conference in Rotorua starting Friday.

The New Zealand Manipulative Physiotherapists Association conference will hear keynote speaker Meena Sran of Canada talk about new developments in treating injured people.

Physiotherapy researcher Dr Sran has investigated exercise regimes for patients with osteoporosis. She has looked into therapy techniques to treat patients with spinal pain as a result of osteoporotic fractures.

Her paper to the conference complements the work already being done in New Zealand via an Otago exercise programme.

This is a major nationwide project using exercise to prevent falls in the elderly living in the community. Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists are all working together to educate and promote exercise regimes in this at risk population.

The three-day conference will also hear from other international speakers who have been researching the latest treatments for conditions such as Achilles tendonitis, and tennis elbow. These conditions are notoriously slow to heal and prevent many top sports people from getting back to sport quickly.

Researchers from the Auckland University of Technology and Otago University Schools of Physiotherapy will also cover topics such as physiotherapy management of acute ligament injuries to the knee, hamstring injuries and stress fractures in triathletes. Over 200 delegates will attend the conference.

One of the major diseases that affect the elderly and particularly women is the bone disease osteoporosis, NZMPA spokesman Duncan Reid said today.

``The disease causes weakening of the bones making them fragile which increases the risk of fractures.

``People who are developing osteoporosis have few symptoms and may not know the extent of the disease until they have a fall and the bone breaks with `trivial violence’.

``ACC statistics show they spent $47 million on accidents on people aged 60 to 74 in 2003 and much of this is related to falls.

``Almost all hip fractures for example in older people occur as a result of falls. In Auckland, six women and three men in every 1000 over the age of sixty will fracture their hip in any given year,’’ he said.

Physiotherapists play an important role in the rehabilitation of those patients who have suffered a fractured hip but also in the management of patients with osteoporosis.


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