Tuesday, July 14, 2020

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Spinal Stenosis and Back Pain Relief

Spinal stenosis is a very common spinal disorder which unfortunately is a natural part of growing older. Stenosis may occur in any part of your spine, and is named for the region of the spine affected, lumbar stenosis is located in the lower portion of the back, cervical stenosis in the neck region. Spinal stenosis is caused by the narrowing of channels through which the spinal cord and nerves are located.

Your symptoms are dependant on the location of where the spinal cord pathway is narrowed. If there is no nerve or spinal cord compression, the stenosis will not cause pain. Lumbar stenosis can produce pain and/or cramping in your legs. This type of pain usually eases if you bend forward or sit down. Other symptoms can include numbness, weakness or tingling in the leg or foot. Cervical stenosis symptoms may include pain in the neck and shoulders, headaches, numbness or muscle weakness.


Spinal stenosis can be difficult to diagnose as the symptoms may mimic other conditions, and symptoms may come and go. Physicians may order diagnostic tests such as CT scans, MRI scans, X-rays and nuclear medicine bone scans. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the spinal stenosis, for some unlucky few, surgery may be the only treatment.

Physical therapy (PT) is an important option to decrease pain and restore movement to your back. Therapy is the key to recovery, whether you will undergo surgery or not. PT for spinal stenosis will include passive and active therapies. The passive may include hot/cold modalities, deep tissue massage, tens unit application, and ultrasound. The active therapies will include exercises to help build and maintain strength, endurance and flexibility. These exercises are tailored to the individual patient and the severity of their spinal stenosis.