People with severe osteoporosis have to be careful about commonplace activities that many of us take for granted.Preventing falls is critical, but people with a fragile spine should also avoid certain movements that could over-stress delicate vertebrae.Seemingly harmless things like a sudden jerk forward from a cough or sneeze might cause a spinal fracture for someone with fragile bones.On the other hand, supporting the lower back with one arm -- like this -- can help stabilize and protect the spine.
Clifford Jones, MD:
Stretching, staying fit, keeping your muscle mass good are all good things in the right direction to stay healthy and fit and stay away from falling.
Michael Smith, MD:
Exercise is an excellent way to strengthen bone. But how you move is equally as important.For example, bending at the waist with knees locked puts a good deal of weight on the spine.Instead, the back should remain upright while bending the knees and hips, which takes pressure off the spine.Likewise, a pivoting action -- turning the feet while turning the upper body -- prevents over-twisting the torso, which can happen when feet remain planted in place.
A reaching tool, like this, can make a good gift for someone who's suffered a compression fracture.Better still, get them to store the items they use every day in places that aren't out of reach. These countertops and cabinets are designed for easy access.
First off, make sure areas are well lit and that light switches are located in convenient places, like at room entrances and at the bottom and top of staircases.And speaking of stairs, make sure the rail is sturdy, but avoid them if you can. Bath and bedroom all on one level is the better way to go.The bathroom is high risk enough without having to climb stairs to get to it. Slips often occur while getting in and out of a tub or shower.But grab bars like these help make that transition even easier. Wet porcelain or tile is an accident waiting to happen.
So skid-proof material on tub and shower floors is a must. Many bathing areas are now designed with easy access or low thresholds, so chances of stumbling are minimized.Also, consider installing a shower seat. It can make cleaning up a whole lot easier for someone who's unsteady on their feet.And having a raised toilet seat can mean less stooping and bending. Putting a grab-bar next to it's not a bad idea either.Finally, be sure walking paths in every part of the home are clear and safe. Remove all loose wires, cords, clutter, and throw rugs.Your health care provider can provide you even more safety tips. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Michael Smith.