RACHEL FAILING, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Rachel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover the Power of Lying Down: Enhance Your Osteoporosis Treatment
Normally physical therapists are all about encouraging the “get up and get moving” lifestyle and less about the resting phase.
With osteoporosis, we also hear a lot about working on activities to make our bones strong. Let me be clear, I still encourage you to get up and get moving and do exercises that encourage strong bones…but today we are going to discuss the benefits of lying down when taking your rest breaks versus sitting down. Many of us sit down when we are tired or when our back is sore. Today, I encourage you to change some of those sitting rest breaks into lying rest breaks.
Looking at the chart below, we can see that sitting places more pressure on the spine than standing does.
Lets take a break… from Osteoporosis pain
Sitting also tends to encourage us to move into poor postural patterns such as having the head and shoulders too far forwards. Lying down reduces the pressure on the spine (as you can see in the chart) and allows the muscles in the front of your body to stretch out. The discs in the spine get the benefit of decompression (lower loads of force). The simple act of lying down can help to stop or reverse the patterns of postural change that result in people becoming more stooped forwards over time. Preventing those patterns of postural change or that stooped forwards posture can be immensely helpful in preventing compression fractures from occurring in people with osteoporosis. Combining lying down with exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles along the spine can be even more helpful in preventing compression fractures.
Why you should lie on the floor
Where’s the best place to lie down? The floor! The floor is a nice firm surface that will help to stretch out your muscles the best. If you cannot get down to the floor, a firm couch or bed is the next best thing. Be sure to place pillows under your head so that you are comfortable. Knees can be bent or straight—whichever is more comfortable. Maintain your position for 2-5 minutes for the full benefit. Keep your body in a nice neutral position with your head looking up to the ceiling (no tv’s or cell phones!).
If you are interested in learning more about exercises to do while lying down, you are in luck as we have an osteoporosis program at Apex that teaches patients just that! Our osteoporosis program also addresses safe ways to move, helps to improve posture, teaches patients the best exercises for building strong bones, and addresses balance concerns.
Chart based on: A. Nachemson and G. Elfstrom, “Intravital Dynamic Pressure Measurements in Lumbar Discs: A Study of Common Movements, Maneuvers and Exercises,” Scandinavian Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine-Supplement, Vol. 1, 1970, pp. 1-40.
RACHEL FAILING, PT, DPT