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Spinal Stenosis Exercise Advice

By AGE2B team
January 31, 2022

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal Stenosis, as described in most medical journals today is the narrowing of the spaces within your spine. This narrowing movement induces pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine, often times causing pain, numbness and sometimes muscle weakness.
Spinal Stenosis most frequently occurs in the lower back and the neck and is caused by wear and tear changes in the spine. In other words, spinal stenosis commonly occurs with age and osteoarthritis-related conditions.
If you are experiencing pain, numbness, and weakness in some of your body parts due to spinal stenosis, then the last thing on your mind would probably be exercising. However, what you may not know is that stretching and spinal stenosis exercise and movement can actually help you relieve symptoms of the condition.

Most Common Examples of Spinal Stenosis Exercise

It is important to note a few things before beginning any spinal stenosis exercise, such as:
  • Talk to your Doctor First– it is absolutely important to consult any trained or licensed medical professional first before doing any spinal stenosis exercise that could possibly harm or cure you. A good choice on who to consult would be your family doctor or a local trusted physician. Your doctor will be able to advise you against any type of exercise that might actually put harm on your spine instead of curing it.
  • Avoid activities that stress your spine– although you are doing spinal stenosis exercise, you should avoid any physically demanding exercises and activities such as lifting weights, or any kind of contact sports out there.
  • Don’t believe in the no pain no gain creed– when doing spinal stenosis exercise, once you feel any pain, it is imperative that you must stop whatever you are doing, and if you want, call your doctor.

9 Good Examples of both Lumbar and Cervical Spinal Stenosis Exercise

1. Knees to Chest Stretch (for Lumbar Stenosis)
  • Begin by lying on your back
  • Draw both knees to chest and hug them
  • Hold this position for 10 seconds
  • Then slowly lower the legs
  • Do at least Three (3) sets of this throughout the day.
2. Knee Rotation (for Lumbar Stenosis)
  • Begin by lying on your back
  • Bend your knees and plant both feet flat on the floor
  • Slowly rotate the knees to the left side as far as you comfortably can.
  • Then, slowly rotate the knees to the right side
  • Repeat this series at least 10 times.
  • Do Three (3) sets of this throughout the day.
3. Single Knee to Chest Stretch (for Lumbar Stenosis)– this spinal stenosis exercise is much the same as the knees to chest stretch but only this time by using only one leg/knee.
  • Lie on your back and extend your legs.
  • Draw your left knee into your chest
  • Do this while placing your hands either on the back of your thigh or just below your knee.
  • Exhale once you switch over to the other leg while resting the leg you just pulled.
  • Repeat 10 times
  • Do a set of this at least Three (3) times a day.
4. Bridge (for Lumbar Stenosis)
  • Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent
  • Plant your arms against the body and your palms on the floor
  • Squeeze your buttocks and
  • Raise your hips off the ground and line it with the torso in a straight diagonal line
  • Hold this position for at least 5 seconds then slowly lower your buttocks back to the ground
  • Hold this position for at least 5 seconds and repeat 10 times
  • Do Three (3) sets of this throughout the day.
5. Seated Shoulder Shrugs (For Cervical Stenosis)
  • While being seated:
  • Draw the shoulder blades together in an upward motion
  • Hold this position for a second or two
  • And then lower them back into the normal position
  • Repeat at least twenty (20) times
6. Standing Shoulder Crunches (For Cervical Stenosis)
  • Stand and face on the corner of the room.
  • Place your hands adjacently towards the surface of the wall.
  • Draw your shoulder blades together and lean forward to the corner
  • After that, push away from the wall back into your starting position
  • Repeat at least 10 times, for three (3) sets.
7. Chin Tuck (For Cervical Stenosis)
  • When initially doing this exercise, do it while leaning against the wall.
  • Stand with your spine against the wall
  • Slowly pull your upper back and spine back to the wall
  • Keep the chin down while doing this
  • Hold this position for five (5) Seconds then repeat your original position
  • Repeat at least 10 times for five to seven sets.

When thinking about which form of spinal stenosis exercise may be right for you, keep these points in mind:

  • The best spinal stenosis exercise is an activity that can become part of your regular daily routine. Planning to swim at the gym daily for an hour isn’t a good plan if you don’t really enjoy the water. Choose an activity that is fun and rewarding for you. It’s best to find a spinal stenosis exercise that you can do in all types of weather so it can become part of your life every day.
  • Always check with your physician before beginning any new spinal stenosis exercise routine or program. Your doctor might have some suggestions, may want you to avoid some activities or may refer you to a physical therapist for other recommendations.
  • Never exercise past the point of pain when you’re doing spinal stenosis exercises. If your symptoms get worse during or after the activity, stop what you’re doing and let your doctor know.

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