H e a l t h & F i t n e s s The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body
Spinal Stenosis Don’t Let It Stop You According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, spinal stenosis is a silent epidemic. It is estimated that 2.4 million Americans will suffer from spinal stenosis by 2021. Spinal stenosis occurs mostly in people 50 and over, but can occur in younger adults with a history of arthritis. What is spinal stenosis? Spinal Stenosis refers to the narrowing of the canals in your spine that are formed by the vertebrae. This narrowing can impinge on the nerves exiting your spine or the spinal cord itself. Symptoms can vary, but often include radiating pain to the back, buttocks and even legs. Furthermore, weakness and poor balance in the legs can often occur, making it difficult to tolerate walking long distances and prolonged standing. Foraminal stenosis This is the most common form of spinal stenosis. It refers to the narrowing of the foramen canals on either side of the spine formed by the vertebrae above and below the segment. In each canal, spinal nerves exit the lower back to supply different parts of the pelvis and legs. With age and deterioration of the discs between the spine, the canals shrink in size and may also have bone spurs. This irritates the nerve roots, especially when the spine is extended. Sitting typically feels better, but standing and backwards bending increase pain. Is surgery needed? There is a big push towards fusion surgery for spinal stenosis and back pain. However, studies show that surgery should be a last resort, before conservative measures such as physical therapy are performed. In the vast majority of cases, surgery is not needed and people will have signifcant if not complete relief of their symptoms with physical therapy. Physical therapy targets the muscles and joints of the spine to build strength, improve stability of the spine and maintain the foramen as open as possible.
If you believe you have spinal stenosis symptoms, then call us today to speak with one of our expert physical therapists. Our SPINE program has helped thousands of patients successfully relieve their back and stenosis pain.
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