Many people have heard of this disease but may not know what it’s all about. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of areas in the lumbar (back) or cervical (neck) spine. Spinal stenosis can be hard to diagnose and is sometimes diagnosed as another condition.
Spinal stenosis in the cervical spine is much more serious then lumbar stenosis because the spinal cord is not present in the lumbar region. The narrowing causes pressure on the spinal cord and/or the spinal nerves. Symptoms usually appear on one side of the body and can be numbness, cramping or pain in the back, buttocks, thighs, calves, neck, shoulders or arms.
In cervical stenosis there can be a weakness in part of an arm or leg. Spinal stenosis can cause nerve root irritation or compression which can lead to sciatica symptoms more serious symptoms include urinating or having bowel movements and imbalances when walking. These symptoms, usually appear worse when standing or walking and may lessen or disappear when you sit down or lean forward. Sitting down and leaning forward can open up the narrowed spinal area and relieve pressure. These symptoms, usually appear worse when standing or walking and may lessen or disappear when you sit down or lean forward. Sitting down and leaning forward can open up the narrowed spinal area and relieve pressure.
There are three ways to diagnose spinal stenosis; they are EMG or Electromyogram, MRI or X-ray of the spine. In a study at the University of Michigan’s physical medicine and rehabilitation department, which was led by Dr. Andrew Haig, MD, they followed 150 patients with low back pain with no known diagnosis. Each patient was examined by a doctor and had an MRI. Then a team of psychiatrists, neurosurgeons and neuroradiologists came to a unanimous diagnosis about each patient. After the diagnosis each patient had an EMG and the results were compared to the initial diagnosis. The final analysis was that the EMG helped differentiate spinal stenosis from other conditions, like arthritis, herniated discs or nerve damage.
Many people with spinal stenosis are able to carry on active lifestyles for many years with the condition. Some change in activities or work may be needed. Non surgical treatment can be exercise, stretching, modifications on your activities or epidural injections. With the right exercises by strengthening your core and back muscles, and increasing your flexibility through proper stretching, you may be able to stop the symptoms or at least lesson the symptoms you may have. Increasing the tone in your muscles and developing a stronger core can lead to a more stable spine. By increasing your flexibility around the spine and the pelvis allows for normal spine movement, decreasing the risk factors for injury and preventing abnormal force on your joints. By strengthening your leg muscles you will find it easier to use proper lifting techniques that are designed to help prevent back injury and promote a healthy spine for life.
You can make changes to your life so that you can live with this condition or you can explore other possibilities such as surgery. Depending on your degree of degeneration of your spine, you may not be able to prevent surgery but most people with spinal stenosis can make great improvements in their life with the right therapy and may steer clear of surgery. Finding the right therapist who will teach you how to stretch and strengthen your body to help alleviate or live with the symptoms of Spinal Stenosis will help you have a better quality of life.
– Jeannine Nystrom
Jeannine Nystrom specializes in rehab exercise therapy, is a licensed massage therapist, certified stretching therapist, certified personal trainer and esthetician. As someone who had multiple injuries when she was younger that limited her living a healthy normal life, she was thrilled to find someone who was able to teach her how to self help with stretching and massage, getting back into shape and living a balanced life.
She owns a studio and day spa in Juno Beach, Florida and teaches all of these practices to her clients so they too can have a total holistic body and live a more balanced life.
Visit Jeannine’s website at http://www.totalholisticbody.com