5 Ways to Prevent Narrowing of the Spinal Canal

How to Prevent Narrowing of the Spinal Canal in Los Angeles, CA

As you age, your spine may be affected by the gradual wear of supporting discs and conditions such as osteoarthritis, degenerative scoliosis, and degenerative disc disease. These changes sometimes result in a narrowing of the spinal canal that can reach a point where nerve roots are pinched. If spinal stenosis develops in your lumbar (lower) spine, the condition may contribute to pain that affects mobility, especially when sitting, standing, or making certain movements. If you want to prevent your spinal canal from excessively narrowing, consider these tips from trusted spine surgeons in Los Angeles.

1. Get Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can keep muscles that support your spine healthy and strong enough to prevent age-related narrowing of the spinal canal from becoming painful. To keep your spine healthy, consider performing mild-to-moderate intensity exercises tailored to your abilities 3 to 5 days a week. These exercises should:

  • Target your core muscle groups (trunk flexors, abs, obliques, and multifidus muscles)
  • Gently stretch muscles near your lower back
  • Encourage flexibility

2. Manage Your Weight

Joints, vertebrae, and spinal discs can all be affected by extra weight. And these same structures can contribute to a narrowing of the spine. Reduce the risk of placing too much pressure on your spine by staying within your acceptable weight range and ideal BMI (body mass index) for your age, sex, and height. Further manage your weight with a diet that includes:

  • Green, leafy vegetables
  • Bright colored fruits
  • Low-fat dairy and lean proteins
  • Plenty of water

3. Watch Your Posture

Any positions that place added stress and strain on your spine throughout your day can contribute to spinal stenosis. Be mindful of your posture by avoiding slouching while sitting and excessive neck bending while using your various devices. If you have to sit for long periods, shift positions and consider ergonomically designed chairs. You can enhance your posture by:

  • Avoiding stomach sleeping to maintain spinal alignment
  • Wearing shoes that are comfortable and not too high in the heel
  • Bending at the hips and knees while lifting

4. Don’t Smoke

Cigarette smoke contains chemicals that affect the blood vessels that supply essential nutrients to the spine. Nicotine can impact circulation and blood flow, which may make it difficult for tissues in your spine to recover and heal naturally. Smoking has also been linked to increased instances of disc herniation and narrowing of the spinal canal.

5. Stretch Back-Supporting Muscles

When you find yourself experiencing twinges of back or neck pain, simple stretches may provide relief by easing muscle tension. Regular stretching can also keep your spine flexible, especially before activities like your daily workout, jogging, or some type of sports-related activity. Stretching provides added protection for discs that may already be vulnerable to age-related wear. Consider the following basic stretches to minimize spinal narrowing:

  • Forward arm reaches while resting on the floor with legs extended
  • Knee-to-chest leg bends
  • Lying knee twists
  • Standing sideways twists
  • Shoulder rotations

For additional tips on protecting your spine health, reach out to the staff at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration. If you are experiencing chronic pain in your spine, we specialize in treatments that can be quite helpful, whether you need decompression surgery or a Coflex implant. Los Angeles patients can trust in Dr. Hyun Bae and his team of expert surgeons. Find an effective solution for alleviating your pain by calling 310-828-7757 and scheduling an in-person evaluation.