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Bone Health in Myeloma Patients: Is Exercising Safe?

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Published on December 12, 2018

It is known that regular exercise provides both physical and mental benefits and is important for overall health, but for those living with multiple myeloma, is it safe, especially with bone complications? Expert Melanie House, a physical therapist from the University of Iowa Health Care, offers precautious advice and explains what myeloma patients should know before engaging in physical activity to help decrease risk of fracture. Watch now to learn more. 

This is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power. We thank AbbVie, Inc., Celgene Corporation, and Takeda Oncology for their support.

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Transcript | Bone Health in Myeloma Patients: Is Exercising Safe?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Let’s start with exercise, Melanie. So, I’ve interviewed a number of myeloma patients over the years. And there are some people who find out they have myeloma when a family member gives them a hug, and then they have like cracked ribs, and they never knew that they had this illness they never heard of. They never knew their bones were at risk and then they go in and they get this diagnosis, and it’s terrifying. 

And so, you think, “Well gee, if somebody giving me a hug can crack my ribs and I have myeloma, how on earth can I exercise?” What do you tell people related to these bone issues?

Melanie House:           

Well, I always take time to educate my patients on where their lytic lesions or pathologic fractures may be located. In my experience, that’s actually an area where patients often don’t realize, perhaps they’ve never viewed their imaging.  

And I encourage my patients to be better understand that, because if you don’t realize where those lesions are, then you wouldn’t have good information to guide other activities or precautions that you might need to take. 

Andrew Schorr:          

So, at step one, know where you have lesions, step two, but that would freak me out. Now, I’m a leukemia survivor myself and I haven’t had those bone complications, but if I did, I would be just terrified to do stuff. But yet, exercise is good for us, right? 

Melanie House:                      

Well, I think, yes, exercise is good for you, as long as it's in the proper dose. And so, it needs to be the right intensity, the right frequency, the right load. 

So, that's where you really need to work with a professional who has a good understanding of where your lesions are and understands the different biomechanical principles, how the muscles might pull on that bone, that could be good or bad, how posture or lifting technique might impact your fracture risk. 

So, it's important that there is a professional who's knowledgeable working with you, a physical therapist that has access to those films or those scans to help inform them giving you the proper prescription for exercise.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.