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What Yoga Poses To Avoid With Osteoporosis

Should Everyone With Osteoporosis Avoid All Of These Exercises


Not necessarily. Exactly how much impact is unsafe or which activities should always be avoided depends on your history of fractures, severity of your osteoporosis, and overall health. If someone has had a fracture in the spine without major trauma, its important to be very conservative with exercise, advises Kemmis. But if youre generally fit and strong despite having osteoporosis, you might be able to engage in somewhat higher-impact exercise than can someone who is frail.

Theres no one-size-fits-all prescription for exercise. If youre not sure how healthy your bones are, talk to your doctor. Your provider or physical therapist can help determine the safest activities for you.

Looking After Your Hips Strong And Steady

Many hip fractures that happen in the aging population occur during falls often due to an inability to balance and/or vision impairment. Those who are diagnosed with osteopenia or osteoporosis have weaker, less dense and porous bones. Falling on these weakened bones increases the risk of bone fractures especially in the hips, ankles and wrists.

In order to help prevent falls from occurring it is important to strengthen our ability to balance. I tell all my students when they are wobbling while in balancing postures such as;Tree;or;Extended Hand to Big Toe: Your bones, your bone-connecting tissues and the muscles that surround them are getting strongerRight Now.

Practice these poses regularly to build stronger bones and also to prevent the risk of fractures due to falls as you get older.

If you already have been diagnosed with bone density loss it is good to be by a wall or use a chair for many of these balancing poses.

Why Is Yoga Better Than Other Exercises

Are there any reasons in particular why yoga would be better suited to osteoporosis when compared with other types of exercise?

The biggest factor to consider when choosing your exercises or sports is the risk of fractures. Dynamic weight-bearing exercises where you move your body quickly presents a greater risk of fracturing your hips or even your spine.

Sports such as soccer and basketball should be avoided because of the need to quickly change directions, which strains your joints and bones in less than optimal ways increasing the risk of fractures.

Even golf should be approached with care. Properly warming up and stretching can help to reduce the strain from repeated bending over to pick up the ball, and the quick rotational force you apply to your spine and hips through your swing.

Thats why exercises like yoga are great, because theyre predictable and no-impact with enough weight-bearing movement to still stimulate bone density. To summarize, a regular yoga practice is one of the simplest and most effective actions you can take to prevent the worsening of osteoporosis.

Along with this, yoga helps to improve balance, flexibility, and mobility to prevent falls and, thus, preventing fractures.

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General Exercises To Avoid

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, you should avoid all high-impact exercises, such as running, jogging, jumping rope and high-impact aerobics. Avoid rapid, jerking movements and twisting your spine. Forward bends can also result in spinal fractures, so avoid bending to touch your toes and sit-ups or pushups. Sports exercises, including tennis and golf, that require you to make sudden changes in direction and twisting motions can also cause compression fractures in people who have osteoporosis.

Strengthening Your Bones With Yoga

Yoga: Another way to prevent osteoporosis?

There are no symptoms for bone density loss conditions such as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Most people only discover they have the condition after their first fracture and have a bone density test. Losing bone is a normal part of ageing so therefore we need to take care of our bones from an early age through exercise and a healthy diet with plenty of calcium and Vitamin D from the sun. Certain groups are more at risk of developing osteoporosis. Always speak to your doctor if you have any concerns about your health.

Bones are living tissue and they respond to mechanical stressors. Weight bearing exercises, including yoga, help tremendously in the remodeling process of our bones. They encourage more bone growth;increasing the rate of HEALTHY bone turnover;and so are vitally important to practice especially when we are younger.;

Holding up ones body weight in standing postures such as;Warrior 1 or 2, balancing postures such as;Tree;pose;and;Dancers pose, and in horizontal postures such as;Plank;helps maintain the balance between bones breaking down and bones rebuilding.

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What Is Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga is a style of yoga that claims to target the connective tissue specifically the ligaments and tendons in the joints and spine. The poses involve static holds lasting up to three minutes or longer. According to its followers it has many benefits including the elimination of energy blockages and enhancement of circulation.

I decided I would give Yin Yoga a try and see if it is safe for someone with osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis And Yoga Positions To Avoid

Yoga poses that were commonly associated with injury included the extreme forward bends and extreme back bends . Any position that causes your spine to bend too much in either direction should be avoided.

For individuals with neck or back pain, yoga can be a beneficial part of an ongoing treatment plan. Just as with stretching and exercising, the practice of yoga can help reduce the strain on your spine and the pain caused by it. However, as with any exercise plan, its important to consider all the factors before jumping in. This is especially true for individuals with osteoporosis. Talk to your doctor first, start slowly and listen to your body. Do this and yoga can become an effective part of your treatment plan.

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A Dozen Yoga Poses Performed Daily May Increase Bone Density

;Image: tetmc/Thinkstock

Like most of us, you may have become accustomed to thinking that only common weight-bearing exerciseswalking, running, jumping, and liftingprovide enough stress on your bones to maintain or increase their density. So a scientific paper titled “Twelve-Minute Daily Yoga Routine Reverses Osteoporotic Bone Loss” came as a surprise. And it appeared to offer women another option to build bone.

Study #3 New Yoga For Osteoporosis: A Dose Response Study

Chair Yoga for OSTEOPOROSIS – 10 min Exercises and Stretches for Bone Density and Balance

Despite the promising results from these studies, yoga hasnt gained much traction in the medical community.;

So, Im conducting another, more robust study to show that properly chosen yoga poses can support strong bones. If youre interested in participating, click on the following link and scroll down to New Yoga for Osteoporosis: A Dose Response Study for more details!

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Osteopenia Osteoporosis And Yoga

Hatha yoga the physical branch of yoga strengthens, stretches and supports all the systems of the physical body, it calms and clears the mind of unnecessary chatter, and can remove blockages from energetic pathways so that life force can flow with ease.

Youre probably familiar with at least some of these benefits of yoga but what if you have been diagnosed with a bone density loss condition like osteopenia or osteoporosis? Is yoga still beneficial for YOU and your bones? If so, which postures and practices will be beneficial, and which should you approach with more awareness and caution than before? And are there ways that Hatha yoga can help us to prevent or live with the condition?

  • Osteoporosis: A bone density condition that occurs when bones become weak, brittle and porous.
  • Osteopenia: A bone density condition that occurs when the body doesnt make new bone as quickly as it reabsorbs old bone. In Osteopenia, bone density is lower than normal peak density but not low enough to be considered Osteoporosis.

Yoga For Osteoporosis: Safe Poses & Modifications

Managing osteoporosis can be hard, it limits your ability to move and enjoy the daily activities youve come to love, but treating it and reclaiming your life is simpler than you might think.

The solution? Yoga.

In fact, yoga is an effective method of treatment for those suffering from osteoporosis by stimulating bone mineral density growth through safe and low impact exercises and poses even reversing its effects. In this blog, Ill show you how to start practicing yoga and the modifications you need to be aware of.

Ill cover:

Osteoporosis by BruceBlaus is;licensed under;CC BY-SA 4.0

Low bone mass or osteoporosis is surprisingly common within just America alone. Studies suggest that 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 men over the age of 50 will break a bone because of it. However, what is osteoporosis exactly?

Osteoporosis from Greek means porous bones. Bones naturally have some empty space in them to allow them to bend and flex, but those suffering from osteoporosis have larger spaces and less bone density predisposing them to fractures and other bone injuries.

The most common fractures for those with osteoporosis occur in their hips, spine, or wrists. Not only are these painful, costly, and inconvenient they can also lead to complications even after the bone has healed, causing serious pain and complications. In addition to this risk, osteoporosis causes people to lose height as affected vertebrae weaken leading to a hunched posture.

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The Basic Principles Of Yoga

  • The Breath. Pay special attention to your breath. Breathing smoothly and naturally enhances yoga poses. Holding your breath can cause fatigue and block awareness of your body. In general, inhale when lifting up or arching your back and exhale when settling into a pose or folding forward.
  • The Foundation. Your foundation is the part of your body bearing weight. This is often your feet, hands, or pelvis. The key is to spread your foundation, so that youre well supported. With your feet, try and use all four corners of each foot in a balanced way. Stretch your toes instead of contracting them. The same concept applies to your hands.;
  • The Curve of the Spine. Your spine has a natural curve that makes it strong. The goal when aligning your spine is to achieve a balance of strength and flexibility. Always bend from as low down in the spine as possible. Tilt your pelvis from the hips, not the waist. This will minimize any rounding of the spine and keep your back safe.;
  • The Balance of Opposites. If youre new to yoga, you may wonder why poses include actions that are opposite. For example, you may be instructed to press down through your feet and reach up through your arms. This is to create a stable pressure on your bones, which makes poses safer and more effective.;
  • How To Practice Yoga With Osteoporosis Modification & Tips

    Keep moving even with osteoporosis. Safe yoga poses from ...

    Even though most yoga is low or no-impact, jumping into any yoga practice can be dangerous. The term yoga includes many different types of exercises, including movements that can be done in a chair as well as flows that resemble a gymnastics course. Not all yoga is the same with every style of yoga and instructor practicing differently.

    That being said, knowing to what degree your bones have degenerated is important to avoid risks of fractures, which is why you should first consult your medical professional.

    Factors to consider when deciding on the ideal yoga program for you:

    • Target audience
    • Type of yoga
    • Focus of the Program
    • Instructors teaching style

    Those with osteopenia have greater freedom and range with what they can include in their practice.

    However, for those that have osteoporosis, especially those who have developed thoracic kyphosis or have had any fractures, yoga should be cautiously approached.

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    Is Yoga Safe For Patients With Osteoporosis

    Yoga can improve flexibility and balance, as well as a workout for the brain. Some research shows regular yoga practice lowers your risk for heart disease and hypertension, may also lessen symptoms of depression, headaches, and pain-related diseases like, arthritis. And because most types of yoga involve low-impact strength training, which studies show can help prevent bone loss, it can be a wonderful exercise to help prevent osteoporosis.

    But a new study from a team at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN suggests that certain yoga poses may cause bone injury in people with osteoporosis or osteopenia.

    The research team analyzed the health records of 89 individuals with varying backgrounds in yoga who all experienced pain in their back, neck, shoulders, hips, or knees. Study participants referenced 12 yoga poses as either the source of pain, or contributing to pain exacerbation. Most of these poses involved flexing or extending the spine in particular.

    In the end, the investigators concluded that, of those involved in the study, specific yoga poses had led to 29 types of bone injuries, including disk degeneration, vertebrae slippage, and compression fractures, likely due to poses where the pressure on disks and vertebrae is increased.

    Poses to look out for? Participants specifically cited Downward-Facing Dog, Bridge Pose, and the Supported Headstand.

    Who Is At Risk Of Osteoporosis

    The majority of people with low bone density are women, who are 4x more likely to develop osteoporosis than men.

    Why is that?

    The onset of menopause causes a rapid and significant loss of bone mass. For men, a less dramatic but still negative impact occurs when their testosterone levels drop. This downward trend starts when men are in their 40s, but it accelerates when men hit their 70s.

    Other risk factors for both osteoporosis and osteopenia include:

    • Lack of nutrients in their diets such as calcium , vitamin D
    • Sedentary lifestyle
    • Family history

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    Postures To Avoid: The Don’ts

    Follow these additional yoga for osteoporosis guidelines to keep your bones safe and to build bone density and bone strength.1. Avoid flexing the spine forward to stretch the back, legs, or abdominal muscles. Several reclining poses can accomplish the same goal.2. Avoid twisting the spine in a way that uses gravity or leverage for rotation.; Any type of rotation should be introduced slowly using simple movements without force.3. Approach backbends cautiously and gently, and avoid overarching the back. Gently supported backbends, as with a rolled towel, can help restore posture.4. Avoid supporting your entire body weight with your hands to avoid wrist fractures, a common problem with osteoporosis. Other poses, such as Mudras, arm movements, or sustained arm positions, can build arm and wrist muscles and bones.5. Standing poses and balances are excellent for increasing leg strength, but they should be done with the help of a teacher and the support of a wall or chair, as the risk of fracture is increased in these positions.6. Inversions are never recommended. Rather, try restorative poses such as the Legs-Up-the-Wall pose.There are numerous other important ways in which yoga benefits people with osteoporosis, such as improving balance, muscular strength, range of motion, and coordination while lessening anxiety, says Dr. Fishman. These are other important benefits of yoga for people with osteoporosis because they each help reduce the risk of falling.

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    The poses practiced in the study are illustrated below. Each pose should be held for 30 seconds and followed by a 30-second pause.

    If you already practice yoga, you may be familiar with these poses. If you haven’t done yoga before, but think it’s worth giving the routine a try, you should take lessons from a professional yoga instructor to learn be-ginners’ versions of the poses and ensure you are doing them properly to avoid injury. Study participants were advised to seek an instructor of Iyengar yoga, which emphasizes body alignment and breath control.

    The DVD used in the study, which also demonstrates adaptations of the poses that are easier for beginners, is available for $25 from, a website maintained by Dr. Loren Fishman, the lead investigator of the study.

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    Yin Yoga Dangers And Concerns

    Several instructors and teachers promote Yin Yoga principles that are not appropriate for people with either osteoporosis or disc issues. While these instructors are well-intentioned, because they have not received formal training in human anatomy and are unaware of some underlying issues caused by their recommendations.

    Bone Growth Modelling And Remodelling

    There are 206 bones in the human body . The shapes of our bones are long, short, irregular and flat. Bones grow, model and remodel throughout our lifetimes.

    • Growth;occurs during childhood and adolescence. In long, short and irregular bones the cartilage is replaced by bone tissue. In flat bones, thin sheet-like connective tissues are replaced with bone tissue.
    • Modelling;is when bones change shape due to mechanical stressors placed upon them.
    • Remodelling;is the process of bone breakdown, reabsorption and renewal.

    In people diagnosed with osteopenia and osteoporosis there is increased activity of the breakdown cells but decreased activity of the bone rebuilding cells . This low bone turnover ;leads to low bone density and bone strength, increasing the risk of;micro-fractures and fractures.

    • Osteoblasts:;Type of bone that mineralizes and forms bone tissue.;Osteoclasts:;Type of bone cell that breaks down bone tissue.
    • Osteocytes:;Type of bone cell that regulates the jobs of the osteoblasts and the osteoclasts.

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    What Should You Avoid

    This is for everyone with osteoporosis, but even more so if youve already developed thoracic kyphosis. You should avoid forward folding or twisting while your spine is in a rounded C-shape, which increases the risk of compression fractures. So how do you practice yoga?

  • Avoid full-forward folding and focus more on hinging at the hips.
  • Avoid extreme twists
  • Avoid inversions such as handstands or shoulder stands.
  • Avoid sit-ups or crunches
  • This sounds like a lot, but there are still many other poses that can safely let you bear weight and stimulate bone density growth.


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