The natural aging process is the biggest underlying cause of spinal stenosis, and unfortunately that is something no one can stop. While there is no way to completely prevent this condition, there are many steps you can take to lessen the chance that it develops. The term “spinal stenosis” means narrowing of the spinal canal, and it can lead to painful symptoms if nerve compression occurs. Degenerative conditions like spinal arthritis or a bulging disc can shrink the space that protects spinal nerves and can sometimes cause painful pinching.
While you should discuss any plan for stenosis prevention with your physician, there are widely accepted lifestyle choices you can make to slow the deterioration that can cause stenosis.
Healthy habits for stenosis prevention
The best way to slow down deterioration from aging is with a strong and healthy body. If you have good circulation, then nutrients are delivered more efficiently to the connective discs and cartilage in the spine and they won’t dry out and shrink as quickly with age. Having strong supporting muscles and maintaining a healthy weight reduces the forces placed on the spine through everyday movements like walking. The following are some of the most effective methods to keep yourself healthy and slow down natural deterioration:
- Eat a healthy diet for weight control.
- Exercise regularly, emphasizing cardiovascular fitness.
- Practice good posture, with back straight, shoulders square, and head up.
- Always use proper lifting and loading techniques.
- Quit smoking — ingredients in cigarettes constrict the blood vessels and cause many other health problems.
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
A spinal stenosis prevention plan isn’t always effective, and sometimes painful symptoms can still develop. If a physician has diagnosed you with stenosis, the first step is usually a range of conservative treatments like pain medication, physical therapy, or hot and cold compresses. This level of pain management is effective for the majority of patients, but if you are still dealing with pain after weeks or months of treatment, surgery may then be considered.
If spinal stenosis prevention proves ineffective and painful nerve compression occurs, a patient normally can manage symptoms using conservative treatments such as pain medication, physical therapy, massage therapy and behavior modification. However, if chronic pain persists after weeks or months of conservative treatment, surgery might become an option. Tens of thousands of patients have found relief from neck and back pain at Laser Spine Institute, where our orthopedic surgeons and neurosurgeons perform minimally invasive, outpatient procedures using state-of-the-art techniques. Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more or for a no-cost review* of your MRI report to determine your candidacy for our outpatient procedures.