The Stenosis Diagnosis

May 15, 2017

1. Spinal stenosis always gets worse over time. 

FALSE: Studies have shown that some people with spinal stenosis show a decrease in spinal stenosis over time. (Who are these people, and what do they know?)

2. You should force yourself to stand up straight to lessen the symptoms of stenosis. 

FALSE: Forcing yourself (or someone else) to stand up straight can create more pressure on the spinal cord and lead to increased weakness in the legs. It’s better to allow yourself to stand as straight as you are comfortable standing, and if you start to stoop more than usual, it may be time to take a rest.

3. Short of surgery, there is nothing you can do to reduce spinal stenosis.

FALSE: Studies have shown that the number one factor in reducing spinal stenosis is to improve one’s overall physical health.

4. Spinal stenosis is a rapidly progressing arthritic condition.

FALSE: Spinal stenosis is a very slowly progressing condition. (You have time to try to improve your health.)

5. Disc bulges, herniations,...

March 2, 2017

Elastic Lumbar Corset

  1. Ride an exercise bike. Work out while decreasing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. A great alternative to walking.

  2. Stop forcing yourself to stand up straight. If you’re comfortable standing up straight, great. But if standing up straight is making your legs feel rubbery or your low back feel like it’s going to cave in, you’re better off finding a nice place to sit down.

  3. Use an elastic lumbar corset. Helps limit large movements. Helps if you’re going to be on your feet a little longer than usual. Wear it while you sleep to reduce awful morning wake-up pain. 

  4. Use ice. Slows down the nerve’s ability to conduct pain signals and increases circulation to your spine. Ice also causes deep muscle relaxation. 

  5. Use a walker with a seat. A walker with fold-down seat lets you to sit down whenever you need to and is great for preventing falls. Especially useful if you have trouble walking or standing for long periods. 

  6. Use a Nu-Step machine. I...

February 18, 2017

The word stenosis is defined as an abnormal narrowing of any opening in the body.

You can have aortic valve stenosis (narrowing at the valve to the major artery of the heart), bronchial stenosis (narrowing of the bronchial tube of the lung), or intestinal stenosis, which is, well, just…very unpleasant.

The term spinal stenosis relates to an abnormal narrowing of either...

  1. The spinal cord canal or

  2. The nerve openings

Think of a piece of Swiss cheese. Swiss cheese has holes big enough for spinal nerves to pass through. Change that cheese to a baby Swiss, suddenly the holes aren’t big enough—and, it’s kind of like this in your spine:

(This is not meant in any way to disparage baby Swiss cheese, which is

a fine cheese for sandwiches or even just a snack.)

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

When the holes in the spine are narrowed like this, people can experience:

  • Severe low back pain

  • Feelings of heaviness or pressure in the low back

  • Weakness or cramping in the legs 

  • Difficult...

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© 2017 by Terri Night, MSPT

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