Exercises for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

Staying active is one of the most important things to do to manage the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis. The key is to find exercises that that are doable and enjoyable, and will also not exacerbate or bring on the symptoms of stenosis.

We all know about the importance of exercising for our general health and well being and we realize that the symptoms of spinal stenosis can make exercising less enjoyable but there are important reasons to maintain an exercise regimen if you have spinal stenosis symptoms.

Five important reasons to stay active:

    1. Exercise will increase the blood flow to the back, bringing needed oxygen and nutrients and washing away toxic metabolites.
    2. Exercise will strengthen the muscles around the spine, helping to take the pressure off of the bones and other static structures in the back.
    3. Exercise will help maintain flexibility, which will help prevent tight muscles that pull and torque the spine, which can worsen symptoms of spinal stenosis.
    4. Exercise will help maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight can lead to worsening back pain and leg pain.
    5. Staying active helps with emotional and mental health as well. Getting up and moving gets the blood and endorphins flowing and improves one’s overall outlook, which in turn helps reduce pain and improve physical symptoms.

Examples of Effective Exercises for Spinal Stenosis

An effective program centering on spinal stenosis rehabilitation consists of range of motion, strengthening, endurance, and stability related activities. Patients often find that activities/exercises for lumbar stenosis that are done in a bending – forward position are more comfortable.

  • Copyright 2012 - Laura Matoush Photography - www.lauramatoushphotograph?y.comSome people find bicycle riding an enjoyable and rewarding activity. Stationary biking may be preferable.
  • Others find swimming to be a positive activity, or water therapy(which is exercise in a pool).
  • Joining a gym and working with a therapist or trainer is often an effective way to learn some good stretching and core strengthening exercises.
  • Taking a Tai Chi class that involves slow, deliberate and flowing movements of the body is another way to exercise and treat spinal stenosis.
  • Pilates can be a great option when adjustments have been made to the movements.

The above activities are on the smooth and repetitive end of the exercise spectrum. Patients may have less pain by avoiding the higher impact exercise such as jogging, avoiding contact sports, and avoiding long periods of standing or walking.