What is Canal Stenosis?
Canal stenosis is a common spinal condition that develops when the space within the central spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord, becomes narrowed. This often happens due to age-related conditions like bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, or thickened ligaments. Since the spine supports most of the body’s weight, everyday activities can take a significant toll over time. Ultimately, this can lead to the body wearing out over time.
Canal stenosis does not necessarily cause symptoms unless the reduction in space leads to spinal cord compression or an exiting nerve root. Depending on the location of the compression, symptoms like pain, weakness, and numbness can affect the lower back, legs, neck, shoulders, or arms. The discomfort typically comes on gradually. Eventually, you may reach a point where frequent breaks from standing and walking are required.
If you experience pain associated with canal stenosis may affect your ability to work and enjoy leisure activities. While the underlying causes of spinal degeneration are not reversible, there are steps you can take to help you feel better.
Five Ways to Treat Canal Stenosis
- Engaging in an appropriate exercise program. Regular physical activity is very important. For optimal benefits, most doctors recommend you set a goal to exercise at least three times a week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session. To ease your canal stenosis symptoms, a doctor may recommend starting slowly with some simple, forward-bending movements. As you build strength and endurance, you might try incorporating walking or swimming into your routine if your doctor agrees.
- Modifying your daily activities. You should avoid lifting heavy objects and standing, sitting, or walking for prolonged periods. In short, don’t do anything that triggers or worsens your discomfort.
- Taking medications. Speak with your doctor about pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Many over-the-counter remedies can help the pain caused by canal stenosis. If needed, your doctor can prescribe stronger medications when pain flares up.
- Asking your doctor about alternative and complementary therapies. As more and more people find relief through options like chiropractic manipulation, massage therapy, and acupuncture, these therapies are becoming increasingly accepted in the mainstream medical community and might be worth a try. Make sure you inform your doctor of any new treatments you’re attempting.
- Surgery. A doctor may recommend surgery to relieve canal stenosis symptoms by directly addressing the underlying cause of the painful nerve compression. However, you may only discuss surgery if an individual continues to experience severely reduced function or debilitating pain following conservative treatments attempted over several weeks or months.
Find Spine Care with BEST Health System
At BEST Health System, we believe no one should live with chronic pain. Our board-certified surgeons help all patients find relief through the least invasive, most effective treatment path. Would you like to learn more about physical therapy and minimally invasive surgery with BEST Health System? Contact our team today to start.