Thinking about starting a new exercise program? Maybe yoga will be your new thing for relaxation and flexibility if you are experiencing pain from spinal stenosis. As with any new exercise program, it is important that you consult with your physician and/or physical therapist, especially, if you have known health conditions that may limit your participation.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. It may compress nerves and increase radicular symptoms in the legs. There are several types of spinal stenosis:
Central canal – nerve pinched in the main spinal canal
Foraminal – nerve pinched in the passageways as the nerve exits the spinal canal
Lateral – nerve pinched as it exits spinal canal.
Who Does Spinal Stenosis Affect?
Lumbar spinal stenosis can affect anyone however due to it being degenerative in nature it generally affects people who are 50 years old or older.
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis ?
There are several signs that you are experiencing spinal stenosis. Here are a few symptoms:
Increase in leg pain with walking (or without); it may be in one or both
Increase in pain in standing
Tingling/burning in legs
Severity/intensity can vary day to day
Cramping in legs
Trunk flexed posture
Incontinence – severe
Paralysis – severe
What Activities Should I Avoid To Decrease Symptom Aggravation With Spinal Stenosis?
During your day, make a conscious effort to prevent aggravating your back pain. Here are some movements to avoid:
Back extension greater than neutral
High impact activities – running, jumping
How Can Physical Therapy Help With Spinal Stenosis?
Physical Therapy is a great conservative treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis. Physical therapy can help build strength and endurance in a safe manner that reduces symptoms aggravation. Physical therapy for spinal stenosis can include but is not limited to riding recumbent bike, aquatics, yoga, stretching, and assisting in weight loss and strength training. Your therapist can assist in posture modifications to allow you to continue to enjoy your normal activities
What Are Some Treatment Options For Spinal Stenosis?
Lumbar spinal stenosis can be treated in multiple ways. A person can trial conservative treatments or more invasive treatments like surgery. Some conservative treatments can include ice/heat, NSAIDS, weight loss, diet/nutrition and/or holistic approaches. A mid-range invasive technique may be injections.
As always never begin an exercise program or change in medication without consulting your physician, or physical therapist.
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