Spinal stenosis is a condition that can often lead to chronic back pain and decreased mobility in the legs. While there are multiple causes for this condition, it is most often associated with degenerative diseases of aging, such as degenerative arthritis or bone spurs.

At its basic level, spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This can cause the spinal cord and nerves to be impacted, leading to pain. 

When this occurs, people can have difficulty remaining active. In very extreme cases, people may suffer from loss of sensation in the legs and feet or bowel incontinence. There are steps you can take, however, to help reduce your own risk of developing this condition. These include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight, as being overweight or obese can put you at an increased risk
  • Practicing caution and good form when moving, lifting, or otherwise placing stress on the spine
  • Improving your overall posture, both while standing and sitting
  • Incorporating balancing exercises, like yoga, into your daily routine in order to work on alignment

If spinal stenosis begins to lead to lower back pain or pain in the legs, there are some treatments that can help. Many patients have found over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen or aspirin to help reduce inflammation. Others turn to alternative forms of treatment, such as acupuncture or massage.

You can also discuss more interventional pain management techniques with your pain doctor.

Procedures like epidural steroid injections or spinal cord stimulation are minimally invasive options that can help reduce and relieve much of the pain associated with spinal stenosis. Surgical treatments should be considered as a last resort for those cases that do not respond to other treatments.

There are simple, daily activities you can undertake to help reduce your risk of developing spinal stenosis or to reduce any pain related to it. It’s important to talk to a trusted healthcare professional about the options you have when it comes to your own pain management.

Do you suffer from spinal stenosis? What forms of treatment have been most effective for you? 

Image by Gary Knight via Flickr

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