In the normal uninjured spine, there is adequate space for the disc and the nerves to co-exist together so our body’s nervous system works painlessly. However, spinal stenosis is when there is a disturbance to that space – if a disc is prolapsed (e.g. lumbar slipped disc) due to many reasons, it can compromise the space in the spine. The bulging disc begins to pinch on the surrounding nerves or spinal cord and cause pain in the lower back or down the legs (lumbar spinal stenosis causing sciatica). Other than the back, it can also occur in the neck (cervical spinal stenosis).
There are several factors that increase a person’s chances of developing spinal stenosis. The more boxes you tick off, the higher the incidence of spinal stenosis happening in that population!
Spinal stenosis can occur in the neck (called ‘cervical spinal stenosis’) or in the lower back (called ‘lumbar spinal stenosis’). In either the neck or lower back, spinal stenosis can be divided into three types: Central stenosis, Lateral Stenosis, and Foraminal Stenosis.
There are some classic spinal stenosis symptoms that those experiencing it will have. Remember, the stenosis most often pinches onto nerves or the spinal cord; hence, symptoms that occur will be related to the nerves. Nerves supply our muscles to help us move, and also our sensation to help us feel.
Compression happening over the front (anterior) of the spinal cord typically causes motor dysfunction (e.g. weakness). Compression at the back (posterior) usually leads to sensory problems (e.g. sharp pain down the arm). Stenosis can happen in the front and back of the spinal canal, and severe cervical spinal stenosis can cause difficulty walking.
In severe cases of lumbar spinal stenosis, it can cause neurogenic claudication where pain is dominant in the calf and relieved by bending forward. Rarely, severe cases can also cause cauda equina syndrome, where there is bladder & bowel disturbances, sexual dysfunction, and potential paralysis.
If you are experiencing the classic spinal stenosis symptoms:
Then a consultation with one of our practitioners can help to identify any non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis suitable for you.
In Spinefit, our certified practitioners are trained to ask about your symptoms and medical history. A thorough assessment is done during our initial consultation to identify whether your condition fits the criteria of spinal stenosis, and helps us identify how severe your condition is. This is done through both a subjective history taking, and also a physical examination.
If you have had previous X-Rays, CT scans, or MRIs done before, bring them along and our practitioners will also look through them. Usually, a previous scan helps us understand the inner condition of your spine and gives us a bigger picture of your condition. However, it is not a prerequisite for coming in and you do not need to bring in a scan to book an appointment with us.
Chiropractic care has a multitude of ways to help reduce the pain felt from spinal stenosis. Chiropractic treatment for spinal stenosis often involves spinal adjustments to reduce restrictions in the spine which allows movement to happen more naturally again, especially if stiffness is a big symptom. For those in a lot of pain, gentle methods such as through Flexion-Distraction, Drop-Piece, or Activator techniques can also help the recovery process. Our chiropractors are trained to identify the right areas to adjust to help your body begin healing again.
Physiotherapy for spinal stenosis helps to identify muscles surrounding the spine which are not activating well to support your spine and joints. Physiotherapy exercises for spinal stenosis are usually individualised to the specific person’s condition, and are not just a list of exercises on a piece of paper given to all patients. After a proper assessment, the exercises will be specific to target the strength of affected muscles (such as the deep cervical flexors, core muscles, hip stabilisers) which helps to support the spinal column and reduce pain over the long-term. These exercises will help to improve your spinal stabilisation, movement patterns, and muscle tone. Our physiotherapists can show you what exercises are right for you.
Book an Appointment With Us to Get Started On Your Non-Surgical Treatment for Spinal Stenosis Today
Aside from chiropractic and physiotherapy care, decompression therapy is also among the best treatments for spinal stenosis available today . It acts as an adjunct alongside non-restricted joints and strong muscles, to help create space in the spinal joints so that the nervous system can run smoothly as the sessions go by. If you would like to get started on your journey today, contact us to see how we can help!
 Machado, G. et al. (2017) Can Recurrence After an Acute Episode of Low Back Pain Be Predicted? Physical Therapy, Volume 97, Issue 9.
 Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy Research Articles (ProSpinal Inc.)