Safe Spinal Stenosis Exercises You Can Try

Swimming exercise for elders

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  • Exercise is one of the recommended options to help patients deal with spinal stenosis symptoms
  • It is highly recommended that spinal stenosis patients consult a doctor before partaking in these activities. This will help them determine whether certain exercise types are recommended for the severity of their symptoms

While your back pain or sciatica usually renders you immobile, exercise can actually help relieve your back pain by helping your spine achieve better alignment and provide better support through stronger core muscles.

Exercise Can Help Relieve Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Although it might seem impractical, exercise is one of the recommended options to help patients deal with spinal stenosis symptoms. Certain types of exercise can help free up space in the spinal canal by improving body alignment and correcting bad posture. Some of the recommended exercises for spinal stenosis patients include:

  • Swimming. Swimming removes the pressure on the spine through water support and helps the back muscles relax. However, note that some strokes can aggravate your back pain because of the backward flexion. Strokes that do not cause back pressure include freestyle and backstroke.1
  • Yoga. Yoga improves the body’s alignment and flexibility, strengthens the core muscles and slows down the progression of spinal stenosis. However, patients should use yoga positions that focus on decompressing their spinal canal. Patients affected by central stenosis should avoid backbends as it further compresses the spinal canal. Side bending and twisting away from the affected areas can help dilate the spinal canal and reduce spinal pressure.2
  • Tai Chi. Due to its gentle and fluid movements, tai chi provides a safe option for older people for relieving back pain caused by spinal stenosis and other back conditions.3 Tai chi, which is also known as “meditation in motion,” helps in strengthening the core and improving both flexibility and balance.4

Patients are also advised to do daily stretches to help strengthen the spine. However, it is highly recommended that spinal stenosis patients consult a doctor before partaking in these activities. This will help them determine whether certain exercise types are recommended for the severity of their symptoms.

Activities Spinal Stenosis Patients Should Avoid

The sensitive location of this spine condition usually entails a variety of contraindications for physical activities. Patients are advised to avoid sports and events that can cause additional pressure on the lumbar region or wherever the compression of the spine is found. Some of these activities include the following:

  • Heavy lifting. Patients with spinals stenosis are advised to avoid or limit instances where they are expected to lift heavy objects. Wrong posture when lifting heavy objects usually causes additional compression in the lower back. Constant pressure applied to the lumbar region may lead to the aggravation of spinal stenosis symptoms and may even cause spinal cord infarction. Heavy lifting can also lead to disc injuries, muscle tears and joint injuries.5
  • Contact sports. Contact sports such as rugby and football can lead to spinal injuries and bruising, contracting the spinal canal further and making spinal stenosis symptoms worse. It can also lead to quadriplegia when the spinal cord is heavily damaged.6

MORE ABOUT SPINAL STENOSIS

Spinal Stenosis:Introduction

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Spinal Stenosis Causes

Types of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis Treatment

Spinal Stenosis Surgeries

Spinal Stenosis Prevention

Spinal Stenosis Exercises

Spinal Stenosis Diet

Spinal Stenosis FAQ

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