Spinal Stenosis

Neck or back pain can be debilitating, interfering with many aspects of daily life. Spinal stenosis is commonly the cause of the pain. Although stenosis cannot be cured with conservative measures, physical therapy treatment can help you to manage and prevent worsening of the symptoms.

Symptoms

If the stenosis is present in the cervical spine (neck), symptoms may include neck pain, arm and/or hand weakness or numbness/tingling. In the case of the lumbar spine (low back), symptoms can include pain in the back and/or legs, numbness/tingling, weakness, and balance problems. In more severe cases of stenosis, one may experience bowel or bladder problems.

 

Spinal Stenosis Causes

Causes

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which often causes pressure on the nerves. The narrowing of the canal can be due to various reasons, including bone spurs that may develop from osteoarthritic wear and tear, herniated discs, spinal ligaments that thicken and bulge into the spinal canal, tumors, and traumas.

Diagnosis

At Specialized Physical Therapy, we will conduct a thorough medical history review focused on your specific symptoms to determine the cause of your symptoms. A physical therapist is trained to identify signs and symptoms consistent with spinal stenosis. Your physical therapist will also analyze your past medical history, activity level, shoe wear, and standing posture to identify the specific cause of the pain, which aids in creating a treatment protocol.

Treatment and Exercises

After a thorough initial evaluation, your therapist will create an individualized physical therapy program to diminish your symptoms as quickly as possible. The program will include stretches, massage, mobilizations, and strengthening exercises specific to what you want to return to doing, from walking to playing basketball. The goal of our treatment will be to first identify why the pain started, to reduce swelling and pain, to regain mobility, and to return you to your prior level of function.

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