Can Physical Therapy Help Treat Spinal Stenosis?

Physical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis

Physical therapy is a useful resource for patients to use as a treatment and rehabilitation method. Depending on the patient’s needs, a physical therapy program works to build strength and improve mobility through controlled exercise. By using a combination of strength exercises and hands-on techniques, physical therapists improve function and long-term health.

This can be a solution for a variety of conditions, specifically orthopedic ones. Physical therapy can be a successful treatment to relieve chronic pain from spinal stenosis. It can also help patients return to the activities they love, such as walking, traveling, and working out. Now let’s discuss the condition and its associated symptoms. 

Overview of Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis is a constriction of the already narrow space the nerves travel through in the spine. This narrowing occurs due to the normal deterioration of the spine. Spinal stenosis causes painful symptoms when a nerve in the spine becomes pinched or compressed. These are some of the most commonly reported symptoms related to the condition:

  • Radiating pain
  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Joint or muscle stiffness
  • Muscle spasms and cramping
  • Discomfort when leaning backwards
  • Loss of balance

If you recieve a diagnosis of spinal stenosis, do not panic. The first step is to consult your doctor to develop a treatment plan. In addition to treatments like pain medications and chiropractic care, physical therapy is a proven treatment option for many patients. More importantly, make sure your physical therapist is a licensed professional. Also, continue to work with your primary care physical.

How Does Physical Therapy Relieve Symptoms?

A physical therapist uses exercise and other techniques to strengthen specific supporting muscles. This can relieve pressure on the source of pain. For spinal stenosis, physical therapy will mainly focus on core muscles, as well as posture correction. These are some of the activities you may do in a physical therapy appointment:

  • Deep tissue massage
  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Swimming, walking, and bicycling
  • Yoga and pilates

Conservative treatments, especially physical therapy, are shown to be highly effective in bringing relief from spinal stenosis pain. However, some patients do not notice relief after several months. If you are in this group, you may have begun to consider spine surgery.

Surgery with Dr. Girton

Traditional open back surgery is no longer the only option for spinal stenosis patients. Modern technology has allowed for the simplification of spine surgery, meaning smaller incisions and faster recovery times. At BEST, we believe that all patients deserve the most effective, least invasive treatment option. 

Our back and neck specialist, Dr. Girton, is widely known for his successes in performing minimally invasive spine surgery. Most of his procedures only require a 1-inch incision and allows the patient to return home the same day. 

For more information regarding surgery with Dr. Girton, contact us today.