Experiencing Pain With Spinal Stenosis In The New Year?
Physical Therapy For Spinal Stenosis Can Help.
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 which 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:
1) central canal – nerve pinched in main spinal canal
2) foraminal – nerve pinched in the passage ways as nerve exits spinal canal
3) 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 the population > 50 years old.
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis ?
1) increase in leg pain with walking (or without); it may be in one or both
2) general weakness
3) increase in pain in standing
4) back pain
5) tingling/burning in legs
6) severity/intensity can vary day to day
7) cramping in legs
8) trunk flexed posture
9) incontinence – severe
10) paralysis – severe
What Activities Should I Avoid To Decrease Symptom Aggravation With Spinal Stenosis?
1) back extension greater than neutral
2) high impact activities – running, jumping
3) longer walks
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.
Written by Nichole Evans DPT and Lauren Nuttle DPT, senior therapists at Aquacare Physical Therapy, Millville location. Check out our video section for safe exercises with lumbar spinal stenosis.
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