The Meeks Method of Osteoporosis Management

SpineScottsdale Physical Therapy's Guide to the Physical Therapy Management of Osteoporosis

Doctor Talk Radio Interview with Dr. Bordinko & Dr. Barclay-White

KFNN Money Radio 1510AM

Dr. Carrie Bordinko and Belinda Barclay-White, MD
Guest Speaker on Osteoporosis: Shane Sullivan, PT,


"Doctor Talk" is a weekly interactive show that takes an in-depth look at YOUR healthcare, YOUR well-being, and YOUR life. Get the latest information in healthcare and find the answers to your questions from nationally recognized physicians. Join Co-hosts, Dr. Barclay-White, a board-certified radiologist who specializes in breast imaging and Dr. Bordinko, a Board Certified Doctor of Internal Medicine and Personal Physician as they host nationally known medical experts as guest speakers to take an in-depth look at our health as a nation and the issues that affect us all. Tune in every Saturday afternoon at 1:00pm for "Doctor Talk" on Money Radio 1510am / 99.3fm.
Segment Tape Date: October 4th at 1 p.m.

Audio Archive

What is osteoporosis and why should people be concerned?
Osteoporosis is a musculoskeletal disorder resulting in compromised bone strength that predisposes an individual to increased fracture risk. People with osteoporosis most often break bones in the hip, spine, and wrist.

Why should people be concerned?

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation:

  • One in two women and up to one in four men will break a bone in their lifetime due to osteoporosis.
  • A women's risk of hip fracture is equal to her combined risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer.
  • A man is more likely to break a bone due to osteoporosis than he is to get prostate cancer.
  • Osteoporosis is a risk factor for fractures just as hypertension is a risk factor for having a stroke.
  • The primary objective of osteoporosis management is to prevent the first fracture from occurring.
  • After one vertebral fracture occurs, an individual is 5 times more likely to have a 2nd vertebral fracture within one year.

What causes osteoporosis?
Many risk factors can lead to osteoporosis. Some of these risk factors you cannot change and others you can change.

Risk factors you cannot change include:

  • Gender. Women get osteoporosis more often than men.
  • Age. The older you are, the greater your risk of osteoporosis.
  • Body size. Small, thin women are at greater risk.
  • Ethnicity. White and Asian women are at highest risk. African American and Hispanic women have a lower risk.
  • Heredity: Up to 75% of your bone strength is genetically predetermined.

Risk factors you can change include:

  • Calcium and vitamin D intake. A diet low in calcium and vitamin D makes you more prone to bone loss.
  • Activity level. Lack of exercise or a more sedentary lifestyle can cause weak bones.
  • Smoking. Smoking is detrimental to the skeletal and overall health.
  • Drinking alcohol. Too much alcohol can cause bone loss and broken bones. According to the NOF, alcohol intake of more than 2 drinks per day for women or three drinks a day for men may be detrimental to bone health.

How does someone know if they may have osteoporosis?
There typically are no symptoms in the early stages of bone loss. But once the disease progresses you may have signs and symptoms that include:

  • Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra
  • Loss of body height
  • A rounded back/hyper-kyphosis

The National Osteoporosis wants to know...Are you at risk for developing osteoporosis?

Complete the National Osteoporosis Foundation Bone Health Checkup at to learn about your chance of getting osteoporosis, a disease that causes the bones to become weak and more likely to break.

What can be done to prevent osteoporosis?

The Universal Recommendations for all patients to preserve bone strength according to the NOF include:

  • Adequate intake of calcium and vitamin D
  • Cessation of tobacco use
  • Avoidance of excessive alcohol intake
  • Lifelong participation in a weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening, and balance exercise program

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?
Your physical therapist can develop a specific program based on your individual needs to help improve your overall bone health, keep your bones healthy, and help you avoid fracture. Your physical therapist may teach you:

  • Specific weight-bearing exercises and site-specific exercises to build bone or decrease the amount of bone loss
  • Proper posture
  • How to improve your balance so as to reduce your risk of falling

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?

You can find professionals all around the country with formal training in safe osteoporosis exercise.

These individuals have been trained and certified in the Meeks Method by Sara Meeks Seminars. To learn more about Sara Meeks Seminars and the Meeks Method visit

The Meeks Method is a comprehensive 12 point program for the prevention and management of osteoporosis and the musculoskeletal changes commonly associated with the aging process.The program includes exercises for posture correction, strengthening, flexibility, balance, and weight-bearing activities.

How is The Meeks Method different from other programs? Its essential aspects are five-fold.

  1. Safety

    For persons with osteoporosis, even in advanced stages, all of the exercises, if done according to the directions, are safe and will minimize your risk of fracture. Except where noted with certain exercises, they are safe for most other back problems as well. There is nothing that would put you at risk for spinal or rib fracture—no sit-ups, abdominal crunches, straight leg raises, toe touches or knee-to-chest movements. Research has shown that these forward-bending movements can result in a significant increase in fracture risk for persons with fragile bones.

    Unfortunately, the prevailing thought seems to be that any exercise is "ok", and that doing something is better than doing nothing, as long as people are up and moving. For persons with osteoporosis, however, it is nearly better to do nothing than to do the wrong thing. When it comes to exercise, not all of it is safe and some of it can actually be dangerous.

  2. Reversal of the Patterns of Postural Changes.

    This entire program is based on preventing, arresting, and/or reversing these all-too-common changes in posture. When the body is better aligned, the effect of muscle contraction on the bone and weight-bearing forces going through the bones will optimized.

  3. Exercises are "site-specific."

    They have been designed to target areas of the body where strengthening and flexibility are most help prevent both the fractures that can occur with osteoporosis and the postural changes that develop as people age. Of particular importance is strengthening of the back extensor muscles.

  4. Focus on the bones, in movement and exercise.

    The bones form the foundation for movement and are all too often taken for granted until a devastating injury occurs. Learning to move with consideration for the bones can change movement in profound ways.

  5. Starts at a low level.

    This enables just about anyone to begin the program. Simple movements build on complexity and difficulty.

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