Gransnet forums


Osteoporosis of the spine and exercise

(17 Posts)
jeanie99 Sun 10-May-20 11:29:53

My consultant advised me last year that I need to exercise and I understand this but other than walking I am not sure what to do.
I don't want to make things worse.
Can anyone recommend from experience an online facility such as video which I could use.
My diagnosis came to a head when after 4 months of Yoga and Pilates I injured my back and neck so am very concerned I get this right.
I was under a Physio for 6 months but he would not recommend any exercise because he would be there to check I was doing it right.
I had a recommended guy come to my home to show me exercises that would be beneficial for my conditions but when I started the first one my neck started up again.
I really need to start exercising but have no clue what to do and stay safe.
I have spoken to my GP but he just says go to a gym and see what they recommend.

Sparklefizz Sun 10-May-20 11:44:28

Definitely don't go to a gym where you will see a 25 year old who may be trained but has no real experience. I have osteoporosis, and also osteoarthritis, which is in my neck, lower back, hip, fingers and feet. I also have other illnesses including longterm ME.

I was referred to an NHS physio and I had to fill in forms with all my health problems, but still the physio gave me an exercise to do (The Bridge, a Yoga pose) which was too extreme. I should have known better but I thought she knew what she was doing ..... wrong ! The following morning I couldn't get my head off the pillow and The Bridge pose had sent my neck into a spasm.

I was in horrible pain all over Christmas, couldn't move my head at all even to look down at my laptop keyboard, and it cost me over £100 for my cranial osteopath to sort the damage. She has given me some exercises which are safe to do.

I would say be very careful and get some professional advice such as from an osteopath. I googled the exercises the physio had given to me and all she had done was copy out the standard exercises for hip arthritis and not taken into account any of my other problems.

jeanie99 Sun 10-May-20 13:22:07

Your comment just enforces the problem I have.
I haven't been in touch with an Osteopath, GP didn't suggest this.
Thanks for your comment.

Grannyjay Sun 10-May-20 13:28:51

A Margaret Martin PT, CSCS does online videos for those who are osteoporotic. She is excellent in giving information on those who have this. They are safe and effective.

Farmor15 Sun 10-May-20 19:24:09

Hi jeanie - I have a bit of knowledge about osteoporosis and exercise as I was a volunteer in a research project on the topic some years ago. We had DEXA scan at beginning and end- the project went on for a year. We had to do specific exercises for an hour, 3 times a week. They mostly involved relatively high impact- jumping, stepping, and also using light weights and elastic bands. I was one of the few who stuck with the project for the full year and my bone density improved slightly.
The problem for most people was that the type of exercise proven to be beneficial, such as jumping from a step with knees straight and feet flat was quite hard on knees.
From what I know, for exercise to have a effect on osteoporosis it has to be weight bearing or involve resistance, so cycling and swimming, yoga or Pilates are of limited use. Walking may have a slight effect, but jogging is better. Jumping with knees straight and star jumps may help. If you jump from a step with feet flat and feel a vibration up your back, that’s the type of exercise that may help, if your knees can tolerate!

jeanie99 Mon 11-May-20 02:26:04

Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my problem which I found very interesting.
Unfortunately because I have heart disease I have to keep my heart rate under 130 which excludes any form of jumping or jogging. I wear a heart rate monitor when I used to exercise.
I did work out in the gym for many years until I retired but now with this diagnosis I am unsure what I should be avoiding or doing to help myself, this is the problem.

Grannyjay Mon 11-May-20 09:30:19

I bought a really informative book by Margaret Martin which gives excellent information on exercise. Some exercises are for mildly affected to those who are severe. It shows exercise that is damaging and the alternative. I was diagnosed as osteoporotic over 15 years ago and was given alendronic tablets which caused side effects of trigger finger and neck problems. I read up on this drug and it does nothing but keep old bone! You should never take for longer than three years but I know of some that have taken it for ten years. My friends mother was one of them and when she told her doctor what I said, he said he had never heard of that. When she went back to him after a couple of weeks, he said your friend is right. When I stopped taking the drug my trigger finger and neck problems disappeared. Luckily my doctor agreed with me and very supportive.

I try to eat for my bones eating little sugar, plenty of walking and sensible exercise.

Luckygirl Mon 11-May-20 10:08:00

Jump from a step with feet flat !!!!!!!! I don't think so!!! Would that I could jump at all!!!!

I share the concern about some physios who get a mite too gung-ho for my taste. Every time I have had physios is has made things worse. I really do think that abnormal repeated movements are a Very Bad Thing!

I will look up Margaret Martin - thanks for the tip.

Luckygirl Mon 11-May-20 10:10:14

Ah - just looked her up on her website. All the pictures involve getting to the floor and getting up again - I don't think so!!!

trisher Mon 11-May-20 10:12:50

jeannie99 that's very difficult. I am surprised the physio didn't give you excersises to do at home as one of the requirements of Osteoporosis is that the excersise should be regular and often. There is lots of info on the Royal Osteoporosis site
I usually do the yoga "cat" and "cow" poses to help but if you have had damage from yoga in the past you may want to do something else.
I hope you are having treatment. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis several years ago, after treatment I now have normal bone density for my age. Good luck!

Barmeyoldbat Mon 11-May-20 11:07:55

I have the same problem and have been advised NOT to take part in any yoga or pilates or any exercise of a twisting nature. I use those long rubber band things that the physio gave me each day to do gentle exercise. My main exercise is cycling using a sit up and beg position rather than leaning over. This has helped no end and at time my back is hurting when I go out but gone when I get back. I also walk but do not carry anything heavy.

Grannyjay Mon 11-May-20 11:55:38

Luckygirl, I understand that some are unable to get up and down from the floor. I suppose it depends on the severity. The videos are a range as there is not only one. The book demonstrates step by step exercises and safety getting up and down. I suppose I can count myself lucky that I am fairly fit to do most things but it doesn’t get away from the fact I have it and have to live a life trying to prevent it getting worse via exercise.

Farmor15 Mon 11-May-20 17:10:59

I actually gave examples of exercises proven to benefit bones such as jumping, to illustrate how few older people can actually do them! Research shows that it’s really only younger people who can strengthen their bones by exercise. However, for older people, a combination of medication, calcium + vit D and whatever exercise can be tolerated can maintain bone density or even improve a bit.

There are other medications besides alendronic acid- are you already on something, jeanie?

Grannyjay Tue 12-May-20 14:16:48

I would not touch these alendronic drugs and similar with a barge pole. My doctor agrees and says they are all that’s on offer. It’s a dilemma as what you think is the best. Even the calcium tablets from the nhs are the cheaper version that the body finds difficult to digest. I just stay active and try to eat rich calcium foods. I had a scan two years of not taking drugs and it was no better and no worse.

Sparklefizz Tue 12-May-20 14:20:28

Marching on the spot is good for the bones and doesn't involve the jarring that jumping would cause.

I wouldn't touch the alendronic drugs either. My dentist was worried because he has several patients who are losing jaw bone as a side effect of the drugs, and then their teeth fall out.

I take supplements instead of drugs and my scans have not shown further deterioration.

trisher Tue 12-May-20 16:11:42

If you haven't seen the result of untreated osteoporosis you may think the drugs aren't necessary. My mother was diagnosed very late in life. She lost several inches in height and had at least 3 spine fractures which meant she found sitting in certain seats very uncomfortable and was in a lot of pain I was treated early because I requested a scan. My bone density wasn't good. Since taking aledronic drugs under proper medical supervision my bone density improved so much I am now on a drug holiday. There have been problems but only when people take the drug for too long. Without them I dread to think what my bones would be like. I now excersise and take calcium and Vit D because I only need to maintain bone density. It is. extremely difficult to build bone density as you get older without the help of a drug.

Sparklefizz Tue 12-May-20 16:25:04

As with everything, each person has to weigh up the pros and cons.