Spinal Stenosis — healthy tips to prevent narrowing of the spine
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column narrows and potentially compresses the spinal cord or nerve roots. A compressed nerve root may result in local pain in the neck or back, as well as radiating pain in the associated extremities.
While there is no way to completely prevent the development of spinal stenosis, there are steps you can take to improve the overall health of your spine and lower your risk of it developing.
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 and normal wear and tear. As you age, your spine undergoes degeneration, causing the moving parts of your spine to become less able to withstand the stress they are always under. Discs may begin to bulge or herniate, causing them to expand beyond their normal boundaries.
Additionally, the degeneration of soft tissue in the ligaments of the spine could cause the development of bone spurs, which can narrow the space between the walls of the spinal canal and the spinal cord.
Spinal stenosis prevention
General healthy lifestyle habits will contribute greatly to preventing spinal stenosis. Your spine undergoes constant stress and pressure. Anything you can do to help prevent the amount of degeneration in your spine can help reduce the likelihood that narrowing and nerve compression will occur. This includes the following lifestyle factors:
- Don’t smoke. Research has linked smoking to back pain and a weakening of spinal discs, which can lead to degenerating discs and related narrowing. 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 core strength and 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 and pressure on them is reduced, the chances of developing spinal stenosis can decrease.
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 and a full course of conservative treatments has not brought relief, we can help you with a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine surgery.