The abnormal narrowing of the area where the spine rests that’s known as spinal stenosis can’t always be prevented. Although there may be ways to, at least, minimize symptoms by keeping your spine and its supporting muscles and joints as healthy and stable as possible.
Keeping muscles and joints that support your spine strong and durable can help reduce the pressure sometimes felt at points where the spine narrows, according to board-certified orthopedic surgeons in Los Angeles. Flexibility stretches and exercises that are gentle on your back tend to be especially beneficial, with examples including:
- Standing side stretches
- Knees-to-side stretches, performed lying down
- Cat-camel back stretch, performed on hands and knees with back slightly arched
- Water aerobics
- Yoga and Pilates
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight can place added pressure on an already narrow spinal canal. A healthy weight is defined as one that’s right for your body type and height according to your body mass index. A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered within the normal range, 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, and 30 or higher is considered obese.
Watch Your Posture
Poor posture can compound pressure on your spine and adjacent nerves. Choosing ergonomically designed chairs can help maintain a proper spine alignment. When walking, keep your shoulders aligned with your body and avoid standing or sitting in the same position for too long.
Smoking can reduce bone density and increase the risk of bone deterioration and fracture. Certain compounds in cigarette smoke can also make it difficult for the spine to heel.
The spongy discs between your vertebrae need steady access to water to function properly. Strive for eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day–more if you’re exercising or especially active.
Eat Inflammation-Fighting Foods
Narrowing of the spine can cause inflammation. Incorporating anti-inflammatory foods like leafy green vegetables and fatty fish into your diet can help reduce swelling naturally.
If you do have some degree of spinal stenosis, you’re likely to benefit from a combination of treatments. Physical therapy and activity modification are often recommended, along with the use of anti-inflammatory medications. Spine surgery is a last resort.
If you are interested in surgical or non-surgical interventions for spinal stenosis, reach out to The Spine Institute Center by calling (310) 828-7757. We are a leading spine surgery center in Los Angeles, specializing in spine decompression surgery and other minimally invasive procedures.