Spinal Stenosis

peer review

This content has been reviewed and approved by Kathy Doubleday DPT, OCS.

Stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal due degenerative bone growth. The growth causes constriction of the spinal cord or nerves. The compression on the nerves in the spine typically causes pain in the legs, and is aggravated by walking or standing.

Like bone spurs, stenosis is typically caused by degenerative disc disease. As the disc degrades, movement and force on the vertebrae stimulates the body to thicken the bone. This new bone can constrict nerves and the spinal cord, causing the symptoms of stenosis. It is most often coupled with an underlying condition such as osteoarthritis, trauma or degenerative disc disease.

  • Leg pain, often in both legs
  • Aching in the lower back, buttocks, or thigh
  • Relief from symptoms when leaning forward or bending
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Loss of feeling in legs
  • Evaluation is necessary to determine any underlying cause for the stenosis.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen can help relieve swelling
  • Medical Care: posture and flexion-based coaching. Flexion-based exercises will be used at the start along with stretching the front of the hips and strengthening of the abdominals and hips
  • For persistent pain, injections of corticosteroids may be used in the joints and around the nerves.
  • In severe cases surgery may be required.

Printable Spinal Stenosis Exercises (pdf)

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