It is a sad fact that most people in the United States will experience some form of back pain in their lives, and the majority of these cases involve the lower back. When many people think about lower back injuries their first thought is of a Herniated Disc or a Bulging Disc, since they are two of the most common causes. But there is another cause of lower back pain that people often don't consider: Spinal Stenosis. And while it may not be quite as common as herniated or bulging discs, it can still be just as painful!
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The word stenosis means "narrowing," and that's exactly what spinal stenosis is; a narrowing in part of the spine. When this happens it can pinch nerves or otherwise put pressure on them, and that leads to back pain. The thing that makes spinal stenosis so problematic is that it can be extremely stubborn to treat. It can be very frustrating for people who are receiving treatment because it may take some time before they see any results. Long term commitment and maintenance is a requirement to successfully treat spinal stenosis.
For people suffering with Spinal Stenosis, there are several things that can be done at home to relieve the pain. A combination of some or all of the following tips can help:
- Make sure to rest when moving about, and use something for support if needed. People with spinal stenosis may find some relief from their symptoms by either sitting down or leaning forward, as this increases the space for the nerves which lessens the pressure on them. This is why it can be helpful to lean on something for support, like a shopping cart when you're at the store.
- Exercise often! Just make sure to be careful with the movements being done. The activity should be done smoothly in a forward-flexed position so that there is no unnecessary straining on the back.
- Focus on strengthening your core muscles. When these muscles are strong it helps people to maintain a proper posture which helps to decrease tension, strain, and fatigue. This would include the muscles in the stomach, back, buttocks, and thighs.
- Eat more anti-inflammatory foods. Eating items that naturally contain anti-inflammatory properties can not only help with spinal stenosis, but are also good for the body as a whole. One of the best foods you can eat are fatty fish such as salmon and herring because they are rich with omega-3 fatty acids. Some other healthy foods and spices include pineapple, ginger, turmeric, olive oil, and more!
- Lose weight. It goes without saying that the less weight that the back has to carry, the less pressure will be put on the spine. Also, people who smoke should consider quitting. Smoking may cause spinal discs to wear down faster than usual.
Treating spinal stenosis may require several lifestyle changes. But once those changes become a habit, back pain may become a thing of the past!
At the Illinois Back Institute we strive to educate everyone as much as possible about their back pain and sciatica, because it is proven that the more people know about their problem the more likely they are to eliminate it!