Spinal Stenosis — healthy tips to prevent developing spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerve roots in the spinal cord. A compressed nerve root may result in local pain in the neck or back, as well as radiating pain in the associated extremities.
Spinal stenosis often affects people aged 50 years and older. Most cases of spinal stenosis can be avoided with proper care for your physical body. Please read through some of the ways that you can prevent yourself from developing spinal stenosis.
Causes of spinal stenosis
While spinal stenosis can be caused by many things, including other spine conditions, the most common cause of spinal stenosis is the natural aging process. Like many age-related spine conditions, spinal stenosis can occur as a result of changes to your spine over time, due to normal wear and tear. As you age, your spine may suffer normal degeneration, causing small components like the soft tissue in between vertebrae and the disc in your spine to weaken and change shape. Discs may begin to bulge or herniate, causing them to expand beyond their normal size. This expansion of a disc beyond its normal parameter can cause a decrease in space between the spinal canal and the spinal cord.
Additionally, the degeneration of soft tissue in the ligaments of the spine could cause the development of bone spurs, or extra growths on the vertebrae. Bone spurs can narrow the space between the walls of the spinal canal and the spinal cord.
Since spinal stenosis is caused in large part by the natural aging process, there are several steps you can take to help prevent spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis prevention
General healthy lifestyle habits will contribute greatly to preventing spinal stenosis. Your spine undergoes constant wear and tear. Anything you can do to help prevent the amount of degeneration in your spine can help prevent the occurrence of spinal stenosis. Try these few tips:
- Don’t smoke — Research has linked smoking to back pain and a weakening of intervertebral discs, which can lead to degenerating discs that ultimately can cause a narrowing of spinal canals. Smoking also decreases bone density and makes vertebral fractures and deterioration more likely. All of these components increase your risk of developing spinal stenosis.
- Maintain a healthy weight — Your spine is responsible for supporting your body weight and allowing it to move and bend. Additional weight causes a compression of the vertebrae and discs in your spine. As these components begin to wear down, your chance of developing spinal stenosis increases.
- Improve flexibility — Practicing flexibility and daily stretches will strengthen the ligaments in your spine and decrease your chance of disc and ligament degeneration. As the components of your spine strengthen, the chances of you developing spinal stenosis decease.
For more information about spinal stenosis and the treatment options available to you, please contact our team at Laser Spine Institute. If you have already been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, we can help provide you with a no-cost MRI review* and determine your candidacy for our minimally invasive procedures.