Spinal narrowing — exercises and stretches for pain relief

Patients experiencing back pain caused by spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine, might find some relief from certain exercises and stretches designed to treat this condition. Before you begin any exercise or stretching routine to treat your back pain, consult your doctor. Explain your symptom and then collaborate to create a plan of action to treat your pain, which might include some exercising and yoga stretches.

When the spinal canal begins to narrow, the spine is compressed against the nerves along the spinal cord. Tightened muscles along the spine also push in on the spinal canal, causing more compression. When one of the nerves in your spinal cord is pinched, you feel local and/or radiating pain. These exercises and stretches for spinal stenosis are designed to strengthen the muscles around the spine to take pressure off the spinal cord and nerves in the spinal column.

Cardiovascular exercises

Cardiovascular exercises help the body burn calories and reduce fat, which might relieve some of the pressure from your spinal canal. When searching for a cardiovascular exercise to help maintain your health and relieve some of the pain from your spinal stenosis, be sure to choose a low-impact exercise such as swimming, biking, walking or using an elliptical.

Bending forward during exercise, usually while on a bicycle or elliptical, might help to increase space in your spinal canal by stretching the surrounding muscles and lengthening the spine.

Lower back stretch

To stretch the muscles in your back and relieve some pressure from your spinal cord, lie on your back and lift your legs toward the ceiling. You don’t have to straighten them if you can’t. Hook your hands behind each knee and slowly pull your legs toward your chest. You knees should be bent over your hands. You should feel your lower back stretching and your muscles lengthening around your spine.

Another great stretch for your lower back is the child’s pose in yoga. Get on your hands and knees, with your hips aligned over your ankles. Slowly bend backward until you are sitting on your heels and your hands and arms are outstretched on the floor in front of you. The bending motion will expand your spinal canal and relieve some pain caused by your spinal stenosis.

Lower back strength

To strengthen the muscles around your spine, try this exercise. Get on your hands and knees, with your neck aligned with your spine. Slowly lift your right arm straight in front of you and your left leg straight behind you. Both your right arm and your left leg should be parallel to the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds if you are able. Lower your arm and leg. Repeat this motion with your left arm and right leg. Repeat the cycle 10 times.

For more information about spinal stenosis and treatment options, please contact our team today. If you find that your pain is not diminishing with stretches or exercises, you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.

Our caring and dedicated team can help you schedule a no-cost review of your MRI* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.