Two Exercises People With Spinal Compressions Fractures Can Do

Spinal compression fractures occur when the bones in the spine develop hairline cracks due to disease or trauma (e.g. osteoporosis or auto accident). There are many ways to treat this problem, and sometimes doctors recommend patients take up exercise to help strengthen the bones and prevent other cracks from forming. However, you have to be careful about the exercise you do to avoid aggravating your condition. Here are two exercises appropriate for people with spinal compression fractions.

Water Aerobics and Swimming

While walking and riding a stationary bike are healthy exercises that don't put too much strain on the back, swimming and water aerobics are a far better option. This is because the water helps support your body weight, reducing the amount of pressure and strain on your spinal cord. At the same time, water provides a natural resistance that forces your muscles to work harder to move through it, making it a good option for strengthening muscles in your neck and back—among other areas—that can provide your spine with much-needed support.

However, swimming can aggravate your condition if you don't take the appropriate precautions. Always stretch and warm up properly before performing water exercises. When swimming laps, only turn your head as far as needed to take a breath; avoid over-rotating because you can strain your neck. Avoid doing the back stroke if your neck muscles are weak, as you may overexert them.

Strength Training

Strength training may seem like an unlikely exercise for people with spinal compression fractures to do, but it can be immensely beneficial in a couple of ways. Spinal fractures are commonly caused by osteoporosis, which is a weakening of the bones. Studies have shown that strength training can prevent bone loss and possibly help rebuild it.

Second, strength training makes your muscles stronger and can help you lose excess weight, which will provide additional support to your spine and reduce the strain extra weight can put on it respectively.

Like with swimming, it's important to do the strength training exercises in back-friendly way to avoid aggravating your condition. Keep your back in a neutral position as much as possible and don't overexert yourself. It's better to do more reps with smaller weight than strain your body doing fewer reps with heavier weight. If you're unsure whether a specific weight training exercise is appropriate for you, consult with your doctor or a physical therapist for advice.

For more information about spinal compression fracture treatment, contact a healthcare provider, such as at Southwest Florida Neurosurgical & Rehab Associates.