You’ve aged over 50, and when you bend over or walk for a short distance, you get pain or cramping in your lower back and in your legs. You sit, and it starts to feel better. But, when you start walking or bending over again, the pain recurs and when it recurs, it gets more severe.
You may have a somewhat degenerative condition called Stenosis. Spinal stenosis is created by the narrowing of the spinal canal, or caused by mechanical problems or abnormalities in the ageing spine. Often the person may find slackness of feeling in the legs, or notice pain in the lower-back or a limp.
In Greek stenōsis often means the act of narrowing, derived from ‘choking’. Depending on which part of the spine is under pressure, the pain and numbness is felt in the upper regions of the neck or shoulders or the lower part of the legs. People with more severe cases may have difficulty controlling their bladder and bowels, and in some cases even finding their balance.
Further, this condition may go unnoticed for many years without causing pain or discomfort, but a bend, fall or accident can trigger characteristic stenotic pain.
What’s May be Wrong in your Daily Life
The number one cause leading to Stenosis is poor posture accompanied by obesity. A lack of exercise, weak abdominal muscles further disrupt spinal balance, causing the neck to bend forward to compensate. Seniors who have the most common form of stenosis often walk hunched over because that reduces pressure on the spine. Other common causes include stress and emotional tension, which causes muscles to tighten and contract, resulting in pain and stiffness.
Exercises to Safeguard your Back
Stretching and an active lifestyle, even for seniors are often recommended to help reduce back pain and speed the recovery process. Improving flexibility through stretching is also an excellent way to avoid future injuries. Depending on one’s nature and level of pain it is recommended to consult with your chiropractor Vancouver doctor prior to starting any new exercise program, especially when associated with low back pain.
The Cardio Component: Most health care professionals recommend 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three to four days per week to improve endurance. It is also recommended to select low-impact activities, such as stationary recumbent bike, walking, elliptical trainer, or water therapy until you’ve recovered from back pain – and which will not put undue stress on your joints.
Some Stretching Tips: To gain maximum benefit from stretching proper technique is essential. The
American Chiropractic Association offers the following tips:
• Warm up your muscles before stretching by walking or doing other gentle movements for 10-15 minutes.
• Slowly increase your stretch as you feel your muscles relax. Don’t bounce or make jerky movements.
• Stretch to the point of mild tension, and not to the point of pain.
• Inhale deeply before each stretch and exhale during the stretch. Don’t hold your breath.
• Stop immediately if you feel any severe pain.
Of course, your Vancouver chiropractor will develop a customized program that may combine more than one type of exercise or treatment, depending on your personal needs. The treatment plan/s may include mobilization, massage, or rehabilitative exercises, or other therapeutic techniques improve your stenosis.
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