Safe Spinal Stenosis Exercises
While not all cases of spinal stenosis respond easily to exercise regimens, patients frequently find their symptoms partially or completely abated by a bit of activity. ‘Use it or lose it’ applies as readily to your spinal column as to your muscles—a few spinal stenosis exercises can go a very long way. But of course, you don’t want to complicate your situation; done improperly, any exercise can exacerbate your problems and complicate treatment. In this article, we’ll discuss a few safe spinal stenosis exercises that you should experiment with, what to expect, and how to avoid mistakes that could cost you your health.
Important Aspects of Spinal Stenosis Exercises
Before we discuss specific exercises, let’s look at what makes for safe, effective spinal stenosis exercises. With these in mind, you’ll be able to find other exercises worth doing when this list begins to feel stale:
- Gets your blood pumping: It doesn’t take much, but if your exercise isn’t getting your heart rate up it’s not going to do much good.
- Exercises the muscles in your back and neck: In addition to working these muscles inherently working at your spine’s flexibility and ligaments, working these muscles improves the support for your spine—in your body, good neighbors lead to good health.
- Smooth, repetitive movements: Exercises with these sorts of motions are easier to get right when your back’s giving you trouble, less likely to involve risky high-impact behaviors, and will work to better build the support and flexibility you need from spinal stenosis exercises.
- Doesn’t strain your back: No pain, no gain? No way. If your back hurts after an exercise, especially if it’s more than typical soreness, back off or give the exercise up. Your spine is too delicate for you to ‘work through the pain’ and hope for a good outcome.
Walking. A good walk can get the blood flowing without putting you at any risk, and with the added benefit that it’s completely free—you don’t need any equipment, and memberships, any facilities. It’s hard to compete with walking in terms of simple efficiency.
Swimming. While not nearly as convenient as walking, swimming and water therapy offer even greater benefits and even less stress on your body. If you struggle with pain under most circumstances, a pool may be your best bet. The weightlessness and easy movement of swimming make it an ideal spinal stenosis exercise, if you have access to a place to swim.
Bicycling. A bit more vigorous than walking or swimming, and it takes equipment you may not have at hand, but bicycling is an amazing form of exercise if you’re up to the task. Smooth, repetitive motions that don’t jar or jolt, but really get the blood pumping and work your back.
Yoga or Tai Chi. Few things improve flexibility as well as a guided yoga or tai chi course—just be careful, as some movements may be problematic. Informing your instructor of your condition can help, as many have experience working with limited patients. A few minutes of discussing your ailments can save you hours of pain in the future.
Supervised Gym Training. If you really want to work your body and build up your strength, few things can take you further than supervised training in a gym. While tackling free weights unsupervised will likely lead to disaster with spinal stenosis, undertaking a training regimen under a personal trainer or physical therapist can give you results nothing else can offer. Don’t mistake machine training alone for a ‘safe alternative’, either—machines are overly targeted and may put you at greater risk for injury.
Are you suffering from spinal stenosis? The experts at Chiro-Med Rehab Centre can advise you on which exercises are best suited to improve your condition. Give us a call or make an appointment to learn more!