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Spinal Stenosis Exercises

Best Spinal Stenosis Exercises

Now that doctors have properly diagnosed your condition, you are probably wondering which spinal stenosis exercises are the best.  A good set of exercises can make the difference between a full recovering and continued pain and degeneration.  Ahead you will find an incomplete list of the exercises most stenosis sufferers find most useful.  However, because we are all different, you will want to tailor these to your own personality and life situation.  Regardless of which exercises you choose, exercise is a definite must, if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Be sure to consult your doctor about any medical decisions, including this one.

What is spinal stenosis?

As you no doubt already know, spinal stenosis is a medical condition in which either trauma or the simple effects of age compress the spinal cord causing stiffness and pain.  This condition is common in those over fifty, but with proper care and exercise need not impede your life significantly.

Goals of Spinal Stenosis Exercises

The two main goals of spinal stenosis exercises are building flexibility and strength.  Although physicians have designed these exercises to help you with your condition, you should carefully monitor yourself.  If you feel a return of back or leg pain during your exercises or any other unusual symptoms, be sure to discontinue the exercise for the time being, and contact your physician.

In addition, if you are prone to dizzy spells or are on any medicines that affect your balance, be careful with the standing exercises that require you to bend or stand on one leg.  As an added precaution, it is always a good idea to do your exercises with one or more exercise partners.  Even if your buddy is not doing the spinal stenosis exercises because they have spinal stenosis, they may still find the exercises useful for building flexibility and strength.

Spinal Stenosis Exercises Emphasizing Flexibility

Knee Chins: Laying on your back, raise you knees to you chin or as close as you can get them.  Hold in place with your hands for half a minute (or count 30 “bananas”).

Leg Stretch: Laying on your back raise one leg in the air, help hold in place with your hands, and then straighten your leg as much as possible at the knee.  When you feel the strain on your leg, hold for about half a minute.  Count to thirty “bananas” then release.  Repeat with each leg, three times.

Leg Bend: Grabbing hold of a fixed object for support, bend your knee and raise your foot to your hindquarters.  Grab hold of your foot and hold it for a 10 “banana” count.

Spinal Stenosis Exercises Emphasizing Strength

Head Lifts:  Laying on your back with your legs straight and your hands flat against your side, lift your head up with just your neck muscles and freeze it there for a ten count.  Repeat ten times.

Shoulder Cross:  Laying flat on your back raise one shoulder (along with your head) and push it towards your opposite side as if you were going to perform a backhand in tennis.  Freeze in this stretched position for ten seconds then return to starting position.  Repeat ten times.

Back Bend: For this exercise, a partner may be helpful if you are prone to dizziness or problems with balance.  Standing straight, lean back at the hip, until you feel the pull on your back muscles.  If possible, grab hold of a stable object but do not actually pull on it to keep yourself upright; try to use only your back muscles.  If you have a partner helping you, let them stand behind you for safety.  Hold this stretched position for five “bananas”.

Try to have fun doing your exercises.  Listen to music or do them in front of the TV.  The more you enjoy the experience, the easier it will be to get yourself to do spinal stenosis exercises.  If you experience any discomfort while doing these exercises be sure to contact your doctor.


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