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Pain Pract. 2013 Jan;13(1):68-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-2500.2012.00545.x. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Yoga spinal flexion positions and vertebral compression fracture in osteopenia or osteoporosis of spine: case series.

Author information

1
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA. sinaki.mehrsheed@mayo.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The objective of this report is to raise awareness of the effect of strenuous yoga flexion exercises on osteopenic or osteoporotic spines. We previously described subjects with known osteoporosis in whom vertebral compression fractures (VCFs) developed after spinal flexion exercise (SFE) and recommended that SFEs not be prescribed in patients with spinal osteoporosis.

METHODS:

This report describes 3 healthy persons with low bone mass and yoga-induced pain or fracture.

RESULTS:

All 3 patients had osteopenia, were in good health and pain-free, and had started yoga exercises to improve their musculoskeletal health. New pain and fracture areas occurred after participation in yoga flexion exercises.

CONCLUSIONS:

The development of pain and complications with some flexion yoga positions in the patients with osteopenia leads to concern that fracture risk would increase even further in osteoporosis. Although exercise has been shown to be effective for improving bone mineral density and decreasing fracture risk, our subjects had development of VCFs and neck and back pain with yoga exercises. This finding suggests that factors other than bone mass should be considered for exercise counseling in patients with bone loss. The increased torque pressure applied to vertebral bodies during SFEs may be a risk. Exercise is effective and important for treatment of osteopenia and osteoporosis and should be prescribed for patients with vertebral bone loss. Some yoga positions can contribute to extreme strain on spines with bone loss. Assessment of fracture risk in older persons performing SFEs and other high-impact exercises is an important clinical consideration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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