The spine comprises of several small bones, stacked on top of each other, called the vertebrae. These vertebrae are held in their position by various ligaments and muscles that surround them. The spinal cord, comprising of nerves connecting the rest of the body to the brain, passes through these vertebral bones.
When stenosis occurs, the space around the spinal cord narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord.
Lumbar Canal Stenosis Symptoms
Symptoms of lumbar canal stenosis usually depend upon the severity of the compression. The common symptoms include,
- Lower back pain which may vary in severity. The pain can be moderate or severe which radiates down to the calf muscles of the leg.
- Burning pain in the buttocks is another common symptom which is associated with aching pain. The sensation usually starts in the buttocks but may progress and move towards the foot.
- Tingling and numbness sensation often accompanies the burning sensation in the buttock.
- The pain is usually alleviated by leaning forward or sitting. This is linked to the fact that while sitting or leaning forward, the compression of the spinal cord reduces which alleviates the pain.
- Muscular weakness can range from mild weakness to severe paresis, which is characterized by a condition called foot drop.
Causes Of Lumbar Spinal Canal Stenosis
The primary cause for the condition is osteoarthritis, which is characterized by loss of calcium and weakening of the bone matrix. This is a age related disorder. Osteoarthritis is observed in 95% of individuals over the age of 50 years, while lumbar stenosis is more frequent in individuals over the age of 60 years.
The other cause for lumbar stenosis could be congenital in origin. This is more frequently observed in males, though the first set of symptoms may not be noticed till the age of 30 years.
Exercises For Lumbar Canal Stenosis
Simple stretching exercises can help strengthening the abdominal and lumbar muscles. This is turn helps alleviate some of the associated symptoms. Here are some simple exercising tips,
- Lie down on your back. Raise your legs and bend them at the knee, such that your knees are aligned to your chest. Now gradually move your knees sideways, while ensuring that the rest of the body remains grounded. Repeat it three to four times at a go. Be prudent and don’t overstretch your back muscles since this may trigger more pain.
- Stand up erect. Place your arms on your hips. Now gradually bend forward. Hold this position for a couple of seconds before returning to your original position. Now gradually bend backwards. Hold this position for a couple of seconds before returning back. Attempt this two or three times at a go. Ensure that you only bend backwards to the extent of tolerable pain; don’t over stretch your muscles.
- Stand erect. Bend to your left side, so as to try to touch the floor with your left arm. Ensure you only bend the body at your lumbar region and not at your neck, as this may trigger neck pain. Ensure that your knees don’t bend while doing this. Repeat the same with your right side. Be prudent in deciding the extent to which you want to stretch your back muscles.
Home Remedies For Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
- Add a table spoon of turmeric to a glass of warm milk and consume three to four times a day. Turmeric has strong anti inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate pain and stiffness.
- Homeopathic drugs namely bryonia and Rhus tox are considered effective in the management of pain associated with lumbar stenosis.
- Acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation are known to be safe and effective in management of less severe cases of stenosis. Only visit an experienced and trained professional to avoid risks of injuries and worsening of symptoms.