One of the most painful conditions that afflict the spine is stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing causes constriction of the spinal nerves, which causes pain at the site of the constriction as well as nerve dysfunction (pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness) in other parts of the body. Stenosis is commonly caused by herniated discs, bulging discs, or bones spurs that crowd the spine’s already limited space.
There are, however, a variety of pain relief treatments for spine conditions like stenosis that you can try right from home, as long as you have your doctor’s permission. For example, the Thompson Maneuver, created by an orthopedist, is an exercise that focuses on the alignment of the sacroiliac joints, which are between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the pelvis. Because of their position, these joints essentially support the weight of the entire torso, so if these joints become injured or misaligned, pain can spread throughout the entire back.
The Thompson Maneuver for Spinal Stenosis
The following steps explain how to do the Thompson Maneuver:
- Sit on the edge of a chair with your spine erect and your legs spread apart. Bend one leg and grab the ankle of that leg with the opposite hand. Pull the ankle toward the chair so that it is basically resting on the chair, in between your legs.
- Let the bent knee drop naturally out to the side and keep your hand around your ankle. Then take the opposite hand and place it firmly on your bent knee, with your thumb on the inside of your knee, your little finger on the outside of your knee, and the three middle fingers on top of your knee.
- Raise the elbow of the arm that is on the knee toward the front of the chair, so that the elbow is as level as possible with your shoulder, then pull your knee gently back as far as you can without causing pain. At this point, the sacroiliac joint should be aligned. Switch sides and repeat several times.
Integrating Other Treatments
The Thompson Maneuver is a gentle stretch that aims to relieve spine pain from stenosis. It can be done in conjunction with other forms of mild stretching, such as yoga or physical therapy. If your doctor approves, you may also want to try pain medication, steroid injections, or heat therapy to reduce discomfort. If you’ve tried a conservative rehabilitation regimen for three or more months and you still feel that spinal stenosis pain is reducing your quality of life, more advanced solutions may be necessary.
Contact Laser Spine Institute (LSI) to find out more about our minimally invasive, endoscopic spine procedures that have helped tens of thousands of people rediscover lives without pain.