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Can a Chiropractor help my Spinal Stenosis?

Can a Chiropractor help my Spinal Stenosis?

Eventually, you may feel it. Or see it. And might even enjoy it.

Aging, aka getting old, catches up with all of us and is part of life. Although there are different perspectives on the causes of aging, there’s a shared understanding that our bodies support and withstand a lifetime of movement and injury.

What’s the physical impact of all that movement?

Age-related changes in the spine, like wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis, are the most common cause of Spinal Stenosis. This article goes through living with spinal stenosis, treatments, and how to take preventative action starting today.

Let’s first understand more about this condition.

What exactly is spinal stenosis?

Spinal Stenosis doesn’t exactly have a well-known name.

You may have heard it referred to as “narrowing of the spine.” This debilitating condition can inflict damage on the body’s musculoskeletal system, specifically the spinal canal, which is the channel that houses the spinal cord and nerves that run down the center of the spine.

When the spinal canal narrows, it puts pressure on the spinal cord, causing a range of symptoms, including pain, weakness, numbness, and more. Essentially, there’s little space left for blood vessels and nerves to pass through, similar to a clogged pipe that restricts the flow of water.

Spinal stenosis can be caused by a number of factors, including age-related changes in the spine, arthritis, herniated discs, thick ligaments, bone overgrowth, and spinal injuries.

Spinal Stenosis is a condition that affects the spine. This can happen in any part of the spine, but it most commonly affects the neck (cervical stenosis) and the lower back (lumbar stenosis).

Understanding where spinal stenosis shows up in the body is crucial for diagnosis and treatment, as different types of stenosis can require different approaches to chiropractic care and other treatment plans.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the symptoms and how they may show from spinal stenosis in the neck and lower back.

How do I know if I have spinal stenosis?

Let’s say you're walking down the street, minding your own business, when suddenly a sharp pain shoots down your leg. Ouch! What the heck is going on? And find almost instant relief when you sit on a nearby bench. Well, my friend, it's possible you may have early spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis This condition can manifest in a number of painful symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, weakness in the legs, and lower back pain.

Some of the symptoms may even increase with your normal daily activities like walking.

But the symptoms don't end there. In some cases, spinal stenosis can lead to a loss of bowel or bladder control. This can be incredibly frustrating and embarrassing for those experiencing it, and it's important to seek medical attention if you're experiencing these symptoms.

It's also worth noting that some people with spinal stenosis have no symptoms at all. However, just because you're not experiencing symptoms now, it doesn't mean that you won't in the future. Symptoms of spinal stenosis can worsen over time, making it even more critical to seek treatment sooner rather than later. Spinal stenosis most commonly affects men and women over the age of 50 and can impact anyone with a spinal injury.

In the neck When spinal stenosis occurs in the neck, it can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms, hands, and fingers.

In the lower back Spinal stenosis in the lower back can cause pain or cramping in one or both legs, feet, and toes. This happens when you stand for a long time or when you walk. Symptoms get better when you bend forward or sit.

Sciatica vs. Spinal Stenosis Sciatica is a condition that is commonly associated with spinal stenosis. It’s a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed, which can be a result of spinal stenosis. When this nerve is compressed, it can cause a range of symptoms very similar to spinal stenosis, including pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs.

Both conditions can be treated by chiropractic care.

Grocery Cart Test. Any of the symptoms above should be taken seriously. If you are looking for a quick DIY test, try the grocery cart test. Grab a cart and lean on it while you navigate the aisles. If your pain and discomfort magically disappear while you're clutching that cart, you might have spinal stenosis.

Living with Spinal Stenosis

Your active life can be challenging to maintain with spinal stenosis, but there are things you can do to manage your symptoms. Gentle exercises such as walking or swimming can help keep you active and also reduce your pain. You may need to make adjustments to your daily standing, sitting, and sleeping habits. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight can take pressure off your spine and reduce your symptoms. Finally, don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Activities such as bending down or lifting heavy objects can exacerbate your symptoms, so it's okay to ask friends or family for assistance.

For more information on everyday activities, check out Warning Signs for Lower Back Pain article.

Stages of Spinal Stenosis. There are three stages of spinal stenosis: mild, moderate, and severe.

  • Mild: In this stage, symptoms may be mild and barely noticeable. Some discomfort while standing or walking may be experienced, but the pain may go away with rest. Treatment may include pain relievers, exercise, and physical therapy.

  • Moderate: As the condition progresses to the moderate stage, symptoms may become more persistent and affect daily activities. Pain and numbness may be more noticeable and may require more aggressive treatment such as steroid injections, chiropractic treatment, or acupuncture.

  • Severe: The most debilitating stage of spinal stenosis, where pain and numbness can become intense and require surgery to alleviate the symptoms. Surgical options may include laminectomy, foraminotomy, or spinal fusion. Rehabilitation after surgery is often recommended to help restore strength and mobility.

Is There A Cure For Spinal Stenosis?

Unfortunately, this is a degenerative disease with no magic cure. Depending on the stage of spinal stenosis, some people just live with it as just part of their aging process.

If you're dealing with pain that’s negatively impacting your life, it might be time for you to consult with a professional for a diagnosis.

Diagnosis Your doctor will take a thorough medical history, kind of like a detective trying to crack a case. They'll want to know all about your symptoms, previous injuries, and lifestyle habits that may be causing the pain. They will start with a physical exam to pinpoint the source of the pain and check for any muscle weakness or numbness. And then continue with imaging tests, including X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans, to get a closer look. Depending on the results, you may be referred to a specialist like a neurologist, orthopedist, or neurosurgeon for further treatment.

Non-Surgical Treatments

There are so many options available today for a non-invasive treatment to help you manage the pain. Treatment options for spinal stenosis typically start with non-invasive approaches and progress to more invasive measures as necessary. Some initial options may include:

  • Exercise focused on core stability

  • Physical Therapy

  • Chiropractic Care

  • Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication

  • Direct steroid joint injections

Is there surgery for spinal stenosis?

If these methods do not effectively manage the symptoms of spinal stenosis, then minimally invasive spine surgery may be considered as the next step.

Surgery is often the last recommendation depending on age and your stage of stenosis. If you have severe disabling pain and significant difficulty walking, your doctor may recommend surgery.

Let’s take a deeper look at the benefits of Chiropractic Treatment.

Chiropractic Treatment for Spinal Stenosis

Chiropractic care can effectively treat spinal stenosis by improving spinal alignment and mobility, reducing inflammation, strengthening the muscles around the spine, and preventing further degeneration.

Improving spinal alignment and mobility

One of the main goals of chiropractic care is to restore proper alignment and mobility to the spine. This is important for people with spinal stenosis because misalignments and restricted movement in the spine can exacerbate the condition and lead to more pain and discomfort. They will use spinal adjustments to help alleviate the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves and reduce the symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Reducing inflammation

Chiropractic care can help reduce inflammation by releasing tension in the muscles and other soft tissues around the spine. Chiropractors will often incorporate soft tissue therapy, such as massage, to help loosen tight muscles and improve blood flow to the affected area. This can help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

Preventing further degeneration

By restoring proper alignment and mobility to the spine, chiropractic care can help reduce the wear and tear on the vertebrae and other structures in the spine. Chiropractors can also help patients improve their posture.

How to Prevent Spinal Stenosis

Everyone wants to stay as young as possible. At Geaux Chiropractic, we encourage a balanced lifestyle and recommend changes you can start today to help prevent spinal stenosis and also enhance your chiropractic treatments.

  • Stay active and move your body.

  • Stretch daily

  • Mange body weight

  • Consistent chiropractic adjustments

Discover treatment plan with Geaux Chiro Services

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