National Osteoporosis Foundation meeting last week emphasized exercises that help avoid, or even correct, kyphosis or “humpback”. This is important because kyphosis leads to poor balance, falls and fractures.
Weak Muscles and Poor Posture can cause the bones of the spine to slowly crumble into “humpback”. Strengthening those muscles and working on posture can stop the spine from crumbling further, and can correct at least part of the kyphosis. That improves balance, and prevents falls and fractures!
The key is strengthening the muscles that extend your back into a fully upright position. Lying on your stomach while lifting your head and legs off the floor is too difficult for many of us, but most people can gradually work up to it over many months of daily exercises.
Keeping your spine straight, even when bending forward, is best. Curling your spine forward can produce a crushing pressure on the front of your vertebrae equal to several times your body weight. You should avoid this as much as possible, especially while reaching forward with weight in your hands.
Most individuals require 2 or 3 sessions of personal physical therapy training start at a safe level and gradually advance. At NOF we were shown one woman who started bent forward more than 90 degrees and was able to stand almost fully upright within a year. Impressive!
Anyone can incorporate proper spine extension exercises into their personal plan to Take Control Naturally.
In Waterloo, IA, Guia Palma at Cedar Valley Physical Therapy will teach you how.
Jay Ginther, MD