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Living with Osteoporosis: Preventing Fractures

If you have osteoporosis, you can do a lot to reduce its effect on your life. Knowing how to prevent fractures and spinal curvature can help you live more comfortably and safely with this disease.

Woman in swimming pool.

Reducing Your Risk of Fractures

The most common fracture sites in people with osteoporosis are the wrist, spine, and hip. These fractures are often caused by accidents and falls. All fractures are painful and may limit what you can do. But hip fractures are very serious. They require surgery, and it can take months to recover. To reduce your risk of fractures:

  • Get regular exercise. Try walking, swimming, or weight training.

  • Eat foods that are rich in calcium, or take calcium supplements.

  • Make your home safe to avoid accidents.

Understanding Spinal Fractures

Your spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. Osteoporosis can cause the vertebrae in your spine to collapse. As a result, your upper back may arch forward, creating a curvature. Spine fractures may also result from back strain and bad posture. You will also lose height. Your lower spine must then adjust to keep your body balanced. This can cause back pain. To prevent or lessen these spinal changes:

  • Practice good posture.

  • Use proper techniques if you need to lift heavy objects.

  • Do back exercises to help your posture.

  • Lie on your back when you have pain.

  • Ask your health care provider about these and other ways to help your spine.

Online Medical Reviewer: Kagan, Risa, MD FACOG
Online Medical Reviewer: Kaufman, John D, MD
Last Review Date: 11/30/2011
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.