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Reduced bone density of lower spine

By Anonymous July 30, 2009 - 8:16pm
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I have been told after my recent BMD that the density of L4, L5 and S1 is extremely low. I am afraid that I do not understand the medical jargon but somwhere in the result it says that this part of the spine is 2.6. I get constant pain in my hip, lower back and leg which increases on exertion.
I have to take care of my husband who has COPD so do not have the time or the facilities nearby to attend a gym. Currently I am taking Calcium tablets every day and doing no other exercise except the housework and daily care of an invalid. We are both 68 years old.

Could you please suggest something to strengthen my lower back so that I can continue doing what I have to do without the pain ?? If there are exercises could you please show me illustrations or sketches I am really clueless on following written instructions.
We live at 7000 ft in a beautiful but cold and misty hill station in South India. Sea level is best for both of us but this is our home and we cannot move.
Thank you in advance for any advise.
Fay Vohra

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EmpowHER Guest

low bone density does NOT cause pain. If you have pain something else is causing it.

June 25, 2012 - 1:08am
EmpowHER Guest

Yes, safe and effective long-term bone support is important. To that end, I would suggest that calcium and vit. D supplementation is insufficient. The body needs more than that to build bone and the underlying issue of why it is not re-building as fast as it is re-moving needs to be addressed. Most supplements provide only a few of the critical constituents necessary to build bone and this is like trying to build a house with LOTS of lumber but no windows, nails or bolts. In fact, if we leave the hormonal system imbalanced, it's like trying to build a new house with a team that is taking it a part every evening when the work-men go home. This is no way to build a house and no way to build bone.

(Post edited by EmpowHER moderator to remove commercial product endorsement.)

March 15, 2010 - 11:29am

Hi, Anon, and welcome to EmpowHer. Thank you for your question. Let's see if I can be of some help here.

The bones in your spine are called vertabrae. They have different names and labels based on where they are. Here's a good diagram:


L stands for lumbar, and S stands for sacrum. So L4 and L5 are your fourth and fifth lumbar vertabrae, and S1 is the first vertabra located in the sacrum, which is even lower. Your bone mineral density test showed that these are the bones with the lowest density. So you're much more vulnerable to cracks, fractures and pain where these bones are. I suspect you do a lot of lifting, which is tough on these bones and hurts.

After the BMD, did your doctor recommend anything? Physical therapy or exercises? Did you talk about any of the prescription medicines available now to help with osteoporosis and loss of bone density?

Here is one video on an exercise to help with back strength:


And here's a YouTube video of one personal trainer's Top 8 Low Back Exercises Without Any Equipment:


And this page gives some valuable cautions and tips/info:


Do you have the ability to do yoga in your house? Perhaps buy some yoga DVDs for the television and get a yoga mat? Here's an EmpowHer article on how yoga can help relieve lower-back pain (clicking on the orange links in the article will show you pictures of the poses):


Anon, I'm really proud of you for writing in. I know that as a caretaker, you probably feel that you have very little time for yourself. But it's important that you try, because that's how you keep your own strength up. You can't take care of your partner without taking care of your own health, right? Do you get proper nutrition? Do you take vitamin supplements besides the calcium?

You are an important woman worth good health care. You need the exercise and nutrition, not only for your partner, but also for you. Please make yourself a priority so that these bones don't get weaker and weaker. With a home as beautiful as yours sounds, you want to stay in it as long as possible. I wish you well. If we can help with anything more, please don't hesitate to write back, OK?

July 31, 2009 - 9:18am
(reply to Diane Porter)

Thank you Diane for your mail with all this information. Will take me a while to access all the web sites that you have given me. Also many thanks for your understanding of what it takes to care for my almost helpless husband. Any exertion makes him breathless so I tend to fetch and carry for him all the time. This is double the load on my back. Will get back to you with answers to all your questions
Thanks again
Best Wishes

August 1, 2009 - 2:25am
(reply to Fay Vohra)

You are very, very welcome. Caregivers are the unsung heroes in this world, and you are one of them. I'll be eager to hear from you again. In the meantime, be sure to take care of you, too. Diane

August 3, 2009 - 8:16am
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