Spinal stenosis — stretches and exercises to temporarily relieve pain

Patients who suffer from the chronic pain of a pinched or compressed nerve in the neck or back may find temporary pain relief by doing simple stretches and exercises. These exercises can be done in the comfort of your own home and only take a few minutes to complete. The purpose of these stretches and exercises is to remove the pressure from the nerve roots in your spinal canal, thus expanding your spinal canal and relieving the pain from a compressed nerve.

Often, these exercises and stretches help to relieve the pain associated with spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis compresses the spinal cord and the nerve roots in the spinal cord by narrowing the spinal canal — the small space in which the spinal cord rests.

If you have been diagnosed with or suspect you have a pinched nerve or spinal stenosis, try these exercises and stretches to help reduce your chronic pain:

Toe touches

A great stretch to expand your spinal canal and relieve the pain of a pinched nerve is the toe touch. Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Slowly bend forward from your lower back and try to touch your toes. DO NOT force yourself to touch your toes is this is uncomfortable. You should feel a nice stretch and expansion in your lower back, as well as a stretch in your hamstrings. Repeat this stretch five times to help relieve your back pain.

Side bends

Stand with your hands on your hips and your back straight. Slowly bend to the side while keeping your back straight. Bend until just before you feel uncomfortable. Hold this position and breathe into the stretch, letting your back expand and the pressure to be released from your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat this stretch to the opposite side.

Broom bench press

Lie on your back and hold a broom over your body like you are beginning a bench press. Your arms should be fully extended and level with your armpits. Your hands should be should width apart. Bring the broom down until just before it rests on your chest, and then press the broom upward again until your arms are extended. Repeat this movement 15 times to help relieve the pressure from your back.

Performing these simple stretches and exercises may help you find temporary relief from the pain caused by a pinched nerve and spinal stenosis. If the pain continues to last, consult your physician for other conservative or surgical treatment options. Also contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures and to find out if you are a candidate for our procedures.

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