Exercise is essential for the young and especially the young at heart. Age causes wear and tear on the body and if activity decreases, the opportunity for spine deterioration rises. Central spinal stenosis or spinal stenosis is a common problem caused by age.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This canal or “tunnel” is created by the vertebrae and boney protrusions, disc, and ligaments where the spinal cord and nerve roots are housed, and serves to protect the spinal cord. Years of daily use can wear out the ligaments that stabilize the spine, becoming thicker and cause compression of the central spinal canal.
Spinal stenosis is typically seen in the neck, or cervical spine; and the low back or lumbar spine. This is due to the dynamic forces and nature of these parts of your spine; where we have more flexibility and movement. When the spinal canal narrows, the nerves in the spinal cord can become compressed, causing debilitating symptoms.
Lumbar stenosis typically results in progressive back and leg pain while standing or walking. Sitting or resting typically alleviates the pain. Cervical stenosis can present with pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the head, neck, shoulder or in an isolated nerve and its distribution. It can also cause myelopathy, which is symptomatic compression of the cervical spinal cord, causing difficulty with balance, walking, exaggerated reflexes, and in advanced stages, difficulty with bowel or bladder control.
Pilates, yoga, golf, swimming, dancing and other exercises can build up the muscles supporting the spine and provide greater stability. An active lifestyle and nutritious diet also supports a healthy weight, putting less stress on the joints and ligaments.
No one stays young forever, but a regular fitness routine, along with good posture and core-strengthening exercises, are critical to long-term spine health.
For more information on spine health, visit SonospineSurgery.com or call 855.982.1591.