Osteoporosis and the spine

Osteoporosis is a condition in which the bones are weakened and in danger of breaking easily. In 2007-8 nearly 700,000 Australians had osteoporosis. It normally affects women over 55 years old. Osteoporosis in itself is not fatal, but it can lead to significant pain from bone damage or breakages, and in some cases, premature death. It’s particularly problematic if you have a high risk of falling, as a bad fall can lead to a major break in the hip, pelvis, spine, ribs or arm or wrist.
Our physiotherapists are experts in providing you with the right exercise to improve muscle strength, bone density, and improve balance if you’re at risk of falling.

Osteoporosis and the spine

Osteoporosis in the spine can lead to fractures within the vertebral bodies. This can result in pain, loss of function and loss of height. The spine may end up very curved in the thoracic region, and rotated and compressed in the lower back. Pain may also be experienced from the muscles being overworked as they try to hold up poor body mechanics.
The key to preventing the condition’s tendency to create a hunchback-type deformity is early intervention, in the form of exercise that supports the spine. Generic exercise like gentle walking is not sufficient to elongate and strengthen the spine. Choose a Physio Gym-prescribed program to give yourself the best chance of recovery.

Exercise benefits for Osteoporosis

The good news is that bone is a living tissue and can be built up with the right exercise and equipment to load the bones. Some of our osteoporosis-affected members have actually become taller since starting our programs.

During your treatment at Physio Gym™ physiotherapy, our physiotherapist will focus on:

  • Past or current fractures
  • Bone density scores
  • Whether you are on anti-resorptive therapy
  • Current pain levels and mobility
  • Health, fitness levels and lifestyle
  • Your falls risk, balance, posture and strength
  • How osteoporosis is affecting your ability to be physically active.

Exercises at Physio Gym™ physiotherapy include:

  • Circuit class for weight bearing
  • Balance and coordination exercises
  • Postural training using Pilates and Gyrotonic® exercises
  • Bone-density building exercises using weights and spring loaded machines.

Our physio can advise you on:

  • A home exercise program
  • Equipment for home
  • Pain management at home
  • Walking aids, if required
  • Shoes and orthotics.

Osteopenia and exercise

Osteopenia is commonly found in post-menopausal women, as well as young women suffering from female athlete triad syndrome, (which comprises Osteopenia, amenorrhea and disordered eating). Mild osteopenia in post-menopausal women may be a normal process of aging – however, exercise at this early stage would be worthwhile to prevent the likelihood of its progression. The right behaviour and approach to your exercise will make all the difference.

Medical Management Team


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