A fairly common condition, spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that tends to become more common with age. Because age is a factor, it’s not an entirely preventable condition. Even so, there are some things you can do to reduce your risk of having issues with spinal stenosis that could necessitate a surgical procedure such as a lumbar foraminotomy. Los Angeles residents who want to minimize their risk of this condition should keep the following tips in mind.
You might think exercise would only speed up the wear and tear that can worsen the progression or symptoms of spinal stenosis. On the contrary, exercise can be beneficial because it strengthens the muscle groups that support the spine in some way. What this does is ease stress on your spine by displacing the pressure from your daily movements.
Additionally, regular exercise keeps weight in check, which further eases stress on the spine and its adjacent spaces. Obesity has also been linked to the onset of spinal stenosis. As for the possibilities with exercise, popular and easy-to-implement options include:
• Walking at a comfortable pace
• Swimming and other water-based exercises
• Doing yoga and similar controlled-movement forms of exercise
Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is another step you can take to maintain your weight and ease pressure on your spine. Being mindful of your diet also staves off spinal stenosis by naturally minimizing inflammation. Eat plenty of foods with known anti-inflammatory properties, such as green leafy veggies, fatty fish, brightly colored fruits, and nuts.
Nicotine and the other chemicals in cigarettes can affect circulation. Impeded blood flow boosts the type of structural breakdown that can contribute to spinal stenosis. Reduce this risk by not smoking or talking to your doctor about smoking cessation efforts if you’re currently a smoker.
Poor posture can overstress various parts of your spine enough to accelerate narrowing. Remedy issues with posture by getting into the habit of doing regular posture checks throughout your day to reduce instances of excessive forward bending, slouching, and failing to keep your head and shoulders aligned. Also, be aware of your posture as you stand and participate in various activities. You’ll also benefit from sleeping positions that provide optimal support for your head, neck, and upper back along with your lower spine.
Symptoms associated with spinal stenosis can vary widely. For example, spinal narrowing may cause a nerve to be “pinched” or compressed, which could also be related to a herniated disc. This is why it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis to determine if your discomfort may be related to spinal stenosis.
If you do have issues with spinal stenosis, understand the condition won’t go away on its own. However, the good news is many patients respond well to nonsurgical treatments. A spine specialist can also recommend mitigation efforts more specific to your situation to further reduce your odds of being sidelined by spinal stenosis.
With early diagnosis, spinal stenosis can often be managed quite well with conservative treatment methods. If you suspect you may have spinal stenosis, don’t wait until your pain is severe—see a Los Angeles spine surgeon as soon as possible. The industry-leading spinal health experts at The Spine Institute are experienced in treating every aspect of spine health. Call one of our friendly staff today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.