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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

  • Pain in the lower back that radiates down the legs
    • Pain usually resolves when sitting or lying down
  • Or pain in the neck radiating down the arms
  • Muscle weakness

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Most people consider this type of pain a normal part of aging. This is not a normal part of aging! Most physicians agree that pain relief is possible regardless of how long the patient has been suffering.

Spinal Stenosis is a name given to any number of conditions that involve the degenerative narrowing of the spinal canal, nerve root canals, or intervertebral foramina. The narrowing can be caused by bone over-growth, disc protrusion or ligament build up. Both can cause compression of the nerve roots or spinal cord.

The diagnosis of spinal stenosis is confirmed through imaging studies such as a MRI. Physicians usually recommend a non-surgical approach that may involve medications, injections and physical therapy.

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Physical therapy treatments will relieve pain as well as teach long term management of the condition. Treatments to improve flexibility, strength, endurance and overall physical fitness will be administered. Modalities that help reduce pain, swelling and inflammation are also often part of the treatment. For long term management the physical therapist will work with the patient on appropriate ways to approach activities, proper posture and a home exercise program. For many patients these treatments and exercises will make future surgery unnecessary.

It should be understood that physical therapy is aimed at reducing pain and returning patients to previous activities. It is still important to continue seeing your doctor for observation of the actual condition that created the symptoms of spinal stenosis.