As we get older, we progressively feel the impact of past injuries and overuse of certain areas of the body. Whether it was football, baseball, basketball, cycling, climbing, we begin to feel the sudden pains of aging joints and muscles that have been damaged. This is particularly prevalent in the spine as often the spinal canal narrows. Therein lies the reason to start a good course of exercises for spinal stenosis, to relieve the condition and better, to prevent it in the first place.
In aging with long wear and tear there is the normal degeneration of joins such as our vertebral discs. The discs start to shrink. Because this causes destabilization of the spine, the body begins to compensate for the unnatural movement.
What the body develops in the spine are stronger ligaments and joints, as well as bone spurs. Over time if no action is taken the spurs will gradually grow toward one another until they touch and fuse. This results in a painful immobility of the spine. Painful because the fusion is typically done around or over nerves.
This fusion causes a narrowing of the spinal canal which is the condition known as spinal stenosis.
The domino effect from the beginning of this process until it is fully developed gradually decreases the quality of life. It can be anything from mild to debilitating and crippling to the patient.
Treatment for this condition does not always involve invasive or painful treatment. In fact, often it is successfully treated by simple lifestyle modification and exercise for spinal stenosis.
Exercises are prescribed to loosen the spinal canal, open space around the nerves. This allows oxygen and blood to reach the nerves reducing or preventing pain. That whole process allows mobility that would otherwise become impossible.
This type of treatment requires the patient’s proactive involvement in their own health.
One of the most common exercises for spinal stenosis is lateral trunk rotations. This is an exercise that serves several purposes including a good loosening up exercise when you get out of bed.
Lying on your back with your feet flat on the floor, knees bent naturally, keep your feet as flat on the floor as possible. Keeping your knees bent and together move them down and to the left. Then back up.
In the same position move them to the right. Continue that movement back and forth ten to 20 times.
Stiff leg bends: Standing with your arms down at your side, legs straight.
Bend slowly from the hips, letting your hands hang down straight in front of you. Bending from the hips avoids injury for persons with osteopenia or osteoporosis of the spine. Go down as far as possible and in one smooth movement return to the beginning positions. Repeat eight to twelve times.
Hugging Both Knees To The Chest: Lie on your back on a flat surface, feet flat on the floor, knees bent naturally.
Bring your knees up toward your chest, grasping them with your hands to pull them the rest of the way toward your upper body.
Hold them firmly for 5 seconds. Lower them back down. Repeat ten to fifteen times.
Hugging one knee to the chest repeat the exercise above with one, instead of two knees.
These are not the only spinal stenosis exercises, just four of the most common. They are common among Stenosis patients because they serve specifically to open up the space between spinal vertebrae. This increases overall flexibility and nerve function.
Stenosis, like many other spine related conditions or illnesses is best handled by the patient aggressively pursuing wellness through activity. This not only contributes to their overall wellbeing, but also gives strength, mobility and normal life opportunity.
All together a much better alternative than crippling immobility because of inactivity.