Spinal stenosis is a medical condition that affects the spinal column. Stenosis narrows the spinal column and brings the vertebrae closer together. This can lead to significant pain and discomfort if left untreated.
Spinal stenosis occurs naturally over time. Some people are more prone to this condition due to their profession or family genetics. Stenosis is also more common as a person ages.
Many doctors recommend that you try physical therapy to start an exercise routine to help keep your back from hurting. Stronger muscles help keep the spine in place, and this can reduce swelling and pain.
However, there are certain exercises that you may want to avoid because they could lead to more discomfort.
What Activities to Avoid With Spinal Stenosis?
1. Jogging – Running – Hiking
Although jogging, running, and hiking will put a lot of stress on your knees, it also places a lot of strain on your lower back. Jogging and running can also cause your spinal column to feel the impact of each step, sending jolts of pain through your body. Walking is the best exercise in this category, but only for short periods and without carrying heavy items like a backpack.
2. Lower Back Stretches
Yoga stretches like the Cobra or Superman can actually cause you more pain and harm than good. Placing undue strain on your lower spine during these stretches does not “loosen the muscles,” as many people think. It causes more muscle strain in this area, adding to the pain.
3. Back Rounding Weight Lifting
Free weights are a great way to build strength in all areas of your body. However, certain weightlifting techniques that make you “round” your spine to perform, such as deadlifting, can be counterintuitive to helping your spine. You should only work with free weights if you have been shown which exercises to do and how much weight you should use to achieve the desired effects.
4. Contact Sports
While getting outside and running around playing football or soccer may sound great, it can be very detrimental to back stenosis. All contact sports are included in exercises to avoid spinal stenosis.
Recommended Spinal Stenosis Exercises
1. Water Exercises
A great exercise for spinal stenosis is swimming. Any water-based stretching or exercise will be much easier to do, and you will not place excessive strain on your spine.
2. Core and Hip Strengthening
By strengthening the muscles in your core and hips, you are providing your spine with more support. A physical therapist can show you the correct exercises to use to strengthen these areas of your body.
3. Physical Therapy
Overall physical therapy may be necessary to determine the best spinal stenosis exercise for you.
What If Spinal Stenosis Exercises Are Not Helping?
If you find that spinal stenosis exercise is not providing you relief, and you are experiencing continual or increasing pain from this condition, you may have another option.
The vertiflex procedure is available to many people that have spinal stenosis. The Vertiflex is a minimally invasive procedure that can be performed most times as an outpatient service.
Vertiflex is a small spacer device inserted between the vertebrae so that they are pushed apart to the right distance. This eliminates the pressure the spine is experiencing from the narrowing. Nerve and muscle pressure is relieved when space is restored, and the pain is diminished or eliminated. If you are struggling with spinal stenosis, back pain, and exercise and stretching are not helping, Vertiflex could be a solution. For more information about this and other treatments for spinal stenosis, speak with your orthopedic doctor.
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