Spinal stenosis is a common issue among adults, and is often directly associated with aging. A job that requires a lot of lifting or sports that put your spine under a great deal of strain, can also result in spinal stenosis. And since in many cases you can’t stop stenosis from happening, the question turns to how can you manage your symptoms.
Spinal stenosis occurs when you have a narrowing of the spinal column, which puts pressure on the nerves. For some people, that pressure will lead to numbness and weakness, while for others it results in a burning and tingling sensation.
That’s because the stenosis and its resulting pressure results in constant signals sent to your brain that your body is in pain. So if you are suffering from stenosis, finding a way to get relief is crucial.
Surgery: The Last Resort
Depending on your type of stenosis, surgery may be an option. But for others, the idea of going under the knife is a little overwhelming. In other cases, you simply may not be a good candidate because of the specific nature of your condition.
Individuals who have exhausted all options and have stenosis at the most severe level will require a decompression surgery to alleviate the pain. But for most others, physical therapy should be the first step.
What is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is designed to help treat, rehabilitate, resolve, and educate individuals on how best to take care of their bodies and their specific ailment. It uses treatments like heat, massage, and exercise to help you heal and feel better. If you’ve never considered physical therapy as an option, now may be the time to start.
Although pain medications to help deal with the pain and inflammation of the area do exist, they only mask the pain. No actual healing occurs, making it only a temporary solution to your problem. Of course, you should also limit your use of opioids so you don’t run the risk of becoming addicted.
Physical therapy, on the other hand, offers you the ability to have your stenosis treated in a more holistic and long-term fashion, while enabling you to learn how to handle and treat the symptoms for yourself.
What Should I Expect at Physical Therapy?
It’s important to understand that physical therapy is tailored to you and your needs. Although there are general exercises that are designed to treat specific conditions, not everyone will get the same plan.
When you first attend physical therapy, you’ll receive an evaluation. Your physical therapist will ask you questions about your health and ailment, and then take a look at you and your stenosis. They will measure your range of motion, how far you are able to bend and move, and ask you other questions that will become important in your treatment process.
After you’ve been evaluated, the therapist will lay out a specific plan to help you with your pain. This plan can include anything from moist heat (ice is typically reserved for acute pain rather than chronic pain) to individual exercises.
Importance of Exercise And Stretches
Your body functions just like a machine. When one part is weak, it puts the rest of your body at risk to become more susceptible to injury. For your spine’s health, it’s important that you have a strong core, because the core of your body helps to support your spine.
For example, patients with spinal stenosis typically perform exercises to help strengthen the muscles around their back, which will take pressure off the spine. The more support your back has, the less pain you’ll experience. In physical therapy, you also may do exercises that will help to strengthen your legs. Especially if you have lumbar spinal stenosis, having strong legs will help to avoid falls.
In addition, physical therapy will teach you how to properly stretch your body. These stretches will help to increase and maintain your flexibility, and prevent tight muscles. If your muscles are tight, they could cause you to bend in a way that could worsen the pain in your back.
Physical therapy will not only function to help make you feel better, but will educate your in the process. Especially when you have spinal stenosis, you’ll be taught how to properly bend and lift. This may not seem obvious, but especially if you have a job that requires a lot of lifting, you need to know how to do it properly in order to avoid injuries. Even if you have children or grandchildren that need to be picked up on a regular basis, you can learn how to do so without aggravating your back.
In the course of your treatment, you will learn exercises and stretches that you’ll can continue using once you are done with physical therapy. These are the tools you can use to maintain your stenosis, and help to keep yourself as pain free as possible.
Other Ways To Help Prevent Pain
Of course, pphysical therapy is not the only possible way to help reduce your pain. In fact, you can also take advantage of back braces to help to provide support. Especially if you have a job that requires bending and lifting, you can easily aggravate your spinal stenosis. But if you invest in a high quality brace, it will help to provide more support for your core–which reduces the pressure you apply to your spine.
An adjustable back brace is a great investment to help you reduce your pain. Or, if you are planning on doing physical activities and don’t want to wear a brace, you can also use kinesiology tape in order to help provide stability and relief to the surrounding tissue.
Another great product would be abdomen and back support, which will help to provide more strength to your core and reduce the strain on your back. Taking preventative measures to help control and limit any further damage can also benefit your pain management.
Get Help Soon
When you are suffering from the pain and discomfort of spinal stenosis, you need to find a solution that is going to provide you lasting relief. Physical therapy is not only a great way to get you feeling better, but will give you the tools you need to use even when you are done with therapy. It’s important to take care of yourself, and it is just as important to find a physical therapist who can help you on your road to recovery.
Spinal stenosis is a very common chronic injury, but that doesn’t mean you should have to suffer. By seeking help through physical therapy and then using methods to help to prevent further injury and pain, you can live a better life. Suffering from stenosis can affect your quality of life significant, but you can reduce your pain by making smart choices and seeking help. To learn more about how our products can help with your back pain, please contact us.