Spinal stenosis exercises for pain relief
If your life has been put on hold because of pain from spinal stenosis, finding relief that can get you back to doing the things you love — whether that means golf or gardening — is very important. While medication might be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about pain relief, there are a wide range of options that are effective. An exercise program, followed with the guidance of your physician, can be a great way to relieve the painful symptoms of spinal stenosis. This is because exercising can strengthen important support muscles in the back and take pressure off the painful nerve compression causing pain and limiting movement.
The best exercises to treat spinal stenosis pain
Always undertake any therapeutic exercise plan while partnering with your primary care physician or physical therapist. While there are many benefits to these activities, there is a risk of worsening your spinal stenosis symptoms through improper movement or overexertion. The following kinds of exercises are commonly recommended to relieve painful neck or back symptoms:
- Light aerobics — including water aerobics, walking and cycling, to provide a cardiovascular boost, relieve stress and strengthen muscles while still being low impact
- Yoga — deep breathing and poses that can both stretch and strengthen your back and neck
- Pilates — dynamic, but still light, movement that focuses on building a strong core
- Physical therapy exercises — specially designed to target painful areas and strengthen supporting muscles
In addition to potentially relieving nerve compression through strengthening muscles, exercising can help achieve weight-loss goals, relieve stress and improve heart health.
Other treatment options
Exercise can be combined with a full range of conservative spinal stenosis treatments. Work with your doctor to develop a plan that is best for your individual needs. While many patients dealing with spinal stenosis pain can find effective relief with exercise and other nonsurgical options, sometimes weeks and months can go by and symptoms either do not improve or they worsen. At this point you may be referred to a spine specialist to discuss surgery.
For more details about spinal stenosis and what treatments may be right for you, visit our spinal stenosis treatments page. If exercises and other conservative treatments do not alleviate your symptoms and your physician wants you to consider open back surgery, learn more about the minimally invasive procedures offered by Laser Spine Institute. Contact Laser Spine Institute today for a no-cost review* of your MRI. We will be happy to discuss whether you are a candidate for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery.