Exercises to avoid with canal stenosis

When it comes to exercise, a general rule of thumb is to find something you love and stick to it. After all, the benefits of staying active are abundant and well-documented — especially if you have a degenerative spine condition such as canal stenosis. Exercising regularly can strengthen the muscles that support your spine, relieve pain and stiffness and even help you deal with the mental stress that often accompanies chronic back pain. But, even though it’s important to find a workout that you enjoy enough to be consistent with, there are certain activities that you should avoid.

If you have canal stenosis, exercises that may not be appropriate include:

  • Over-the-head weightlifting exercises (e.g., clean and jerks)
  • Running
  • Contact sports (e.g., soccer)
  • Burpees
  • Box jumps
  • Exercises that involve bending or twisting at the spine (e.g., deadlifts)

These activities can potentially do more harm than good. Running, for instance, requires your spine to absorb a sudden impact every time your feet hit the ground. Even though this may not hurt during your workout, it can accelerate the process of spinal degeneration, potentially worsening your condition in the long run.

Exercises that can help with neck and back pain

In contrast, exercises that gently elevate your heart rate and strengthen your muscles without excessive impact can help you manage your canal stenosis symptoms. Yoga and Pilates are excellent options, as are core stability exercises, swimming, cycling and moderate strength training.

If you’re not sure what your best options are, you can talk with a trusted physician or athletic trainer. Be sure to start slowly — no matter what type of exercise you choose — and to immediately stop any exercise that makes your back pain worse.

If your attempts at exercise haven’t produced the results you need, you can turn to Laser Spine Institute to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. While many people find conservative treatments and lifestyle changes helpful for managing their canal stenosis symptoms, this isn’t always the case —and our outpatient procedures may be an appropriate next step. For more information, contact us today.