Osteoporosis and Emotional Problems

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH on November 20, 2020

The emotional toll of osteoporosis is real. Depression is common in people with this disease.

After you get the diagnosis, your self-image can change. You may see yourself as more fragile than before. After one broken bone, many people with osteoporosis are so fearful that they may fall and injure themselves again that they stop doing activities they enjoy.

The disease can affect your body image, and that can lower your self-esteem. For example, osteoporosis can cause small breaks in your back bones, called the vertebrae. That can lead to kyphosis, a severe forward rounding of the upper back. Such body changes can play with your emotions.

What You Can Do

Being able to share your concerns and fears with others can help you learn from their experiences and make you feel less alone. You may want to consider therapy.

Support groups are a good way to talk with others going through the same thing. The National Osteoporosis Foundation sponsors local support groups called Building Strength Together. Anyone can start one in their own community. You can find one, join one, or start one on their web site.

Exercise is still a good thing for you. It helps maintains bone health and can help boost self-esteem and mood and relieve anxiety and stress. Ask your doctor about exercises that are safe for you. By being active, you can keep your body strong and help beat back depression at the same time.

WebMD Medical Reference



Department of Health and Human Services: "Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, 2004."

National Osteoporosis Foundation:  “NOF Support Groups.”

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