Exercises for back pain after spinal fractures

The pain associated with osteoporosis occurs because of fractures (broken bones). When they occur in the spine they are called spinal or compression fractures. Although these fractures can be painless, for some people they cause severe pain when they first occur.

The pain usually gets better as the fracture heals over six to 12 weeks.

Doing some gentle exercises helps to improve muscle tone, ease tension and reduce muscle spasm in your back.

To practise these exercises, you can follow the video above, or download the accompanying fact sheet.

These exercises may help if:

  • you have pain as a result of recent spinal fractures
  • you have ongoing pain due to height loss and changes to the shape of your spine.

What you need:

An exercise mat and an armless chair. If you want to add some padding under your knees or head for comfort, you’ll need something soft like a cushion or pillow too.

When and how:

Try to do these exercises at least once a day.

Slowly move into the desired positions, as far as your pain allows, using the correct technique. Hold each exercise for three to five seconds and don’t forget to breathe!

Relax between each move and take your time. If pain is very severe you may need to alternate rest with gentle movement at first.

These exercises may help to relieve pain any time after fractures occur, so start to introduce them as soon as you feel ready. You don’t need to wait until your bones are fully healed. However, if you are having difficulty with them, ask your doctor if you could be referred to a physiotherapist for advice.

Before you start

For an introduction to the different ways that exercise and physical activity help with bone health and osteoporosis, read the About exercise fact sheet. It can help you think about how the benefits apply to you, and whether you should prioritise any single type of exercise.

Warm up properly before exercising to get your joints and muscles ready and to prevent injury.

If you are new to exercise and at all concerned about other health issues speak to your doctor, a healthcare professional or an exercise instructor.

After exercise

Do some further cool down moves to increase your flexibility and return your breathing and heart rate back to resting levels.

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