Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition where changes to the spine make the central canal smaller. The central canal is where the spinal cord travels down your back. At the start of the lumbar spine, at a level just below your lowest rib, the spinal cord ends and the inner nerve roots continue to journey down within the spinal canal, but they have more freedom to move.

A common area for narrowing of the spinal canal is in this lumbar spine. Here, degenerative changes can cause a broad based disc bulge. The spinal facet joints can also become thickened and enlarged. The result is a narrowing of the central canal and mechanical pressure is placed on the nerve roots.

The condition is a common degenerative process, but it can also affect younger peolpe if they develop a large central disc prolapse. The most severe form of spinal stenosis affects the control of a persons bladder and bowel. If this is the case then urgent medical attention is required.

For most, however, symptoms will be felt in both lower limbs and made worse with prolonged standing or walking and eased with sitting or walking whilst pushing a shopping trolley. This is not an exclusive diagnostic presentation which is why it is essential to get an accurate diagnosis from your healthcare professional.

The advice and exercises provided show how you can help open up the central spinal canal and ease the mechanical pressure on nerves. If your diagnosis is correct and the your compliance to exercises fails to make any difference then injection therapy is a consideration as too is surgery to make the canal space bigger.