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Women Holding Her Back Due To Pinched Nerve, Spinal Stenosis, Low Back Pain, - I'move, Imove, Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Near Me, Physical Therapists Near Me

Unraveling Spinal Stenosis

Pinched nerves can be more than just a minor annoyance; they can significantly impact your daily life, causing pain, numbness, weakness, and stiffness. A pinched nerve can occur in the neck or low back; however, for this blog we are going to direct our attention to the lumbar spine. When we think about causes for a pinched nerve in the low back, there are two conditions that standout as common culprits: disc herniation and spinal stenosis.. In this blog, we are going to take a deeper look at spinal stenosis. We will explain what spinal stenosis is, what causes this condition to occur, treatment options, and preventative measures that one can take. 

Spinal Stenosis Overview

The lumbar spine consists of 5 vertebrae and between each vertebrae is a disc that provides cushioning for the vertebrae. Our spine has openings within it, called foramen, that house the spinal cord and nerve roots. Stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of this space. The most common cause of this narrowing is age-related changes to the spine. 

This typically occurs in individuals over 50 years old. The spine can go through a number of changes as we age, including the development of bone spurs, loss of disc height, and a thickening of the ligaments that connect each vertebrae to one another. These changes have the potential to reduce the space available in the spine and lead to the nerve being pinched.. It is important to note that these changes can be a normal part of aging and there are many individuals who undergo these changes without experiencing symptoms. For others, they may begin to experience not just symptoms in the low back, but also in the legs. When a nerve is pinched in the lumbar spine, one may experience numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in one or both legs. Typically, individuals with spinal stenosis note a worsening of these symptoms with tasks such as standing, walking, twisting, and lifting. 

Treatment Options

There are numerous treatment options available for those who experience symptoms with lumbar stenosis. 

  1. Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS): Inflammation can be produced when a nerve is pinched which can lead to further irritation of symptoms. NSAIDS work on reducing inflammation which may lead to a relief of symptoms.  
  2. Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can be a beneficial tool to manage spinal stenosis and reduce symptoms. A physical therapist will identify potential causes for the development of symptoms and work with the patient to come up with an individualized treatment plan designed to reduce symptoms and improve an individual’s ability to function day-to-day.  
  3. Steroid Injection: A steroid injection works to reduce inflammation at a specific site and reduce pain. There are potential side effects with this, especially when this procedure is performed multiple times, including a breakdown of bones, ligaments, and tendons.
  4. Surgery: Surgery can be an option for those who experience persistent symptoms and do not respond to more conservative treatments. 

Preventative Measures

Although age-related changes are normal, there are strategies one can incorporate to better manage these changes. Staying active and participating in regular physical activity can improve the strength of muscles that support the spine. Regularly stretching and addressing mobility restrictions can help reduce the strain in the lumbar spine. This is especially true for individuals who sit frequently throughout their day. Ergonomic adjustments to your workspace and mindfulness of your posture during everyday activities can significantly decrease strain on your body. Embracing these strategies can help individuals live a more vibrant, pain-free lifestyle.

A pinched nerve in the lumbar spine can occur through various mechanisms. Spinal stenosis is one of the more popular causes that we highlighted in this blog. This can oftentimes feel like a challenging injury to manage, but physical therapy can be a useful tool to provide relief and help with a faster recovery. If you are experiencing a pinched nerve, give us a call to schedule a consultation with one of our physical therapists today to become a stronger, healthier you!

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