Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings (called neural foramina) where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. This condition often occurs over time in older adults, or the result of a disk herniation which occurred in the past, or can be the result of a congenital narrowing. The pain associated with spinal stenosis is most frequently in the legs and is manifested as leg heaviness, possible numbness and tingling, and limited ability to walk due to fatigue in the legs.
Physical therapy includes massage, strengthening exercises, heat applications, traction and counseling that can help the patient continue therapy routines at home.
Acupuncture, basic massage techniques and assisted Pilates are other alternative treatments for the pain of spinal stenosis. While weight loss can be difficult for those with the condition, even a loss of 10 pounds can relieve excess pressure on the vertebra. Gentle exercises, such as those associated with yoga, can increase flexibility.
However, if exercise is not helping the pain or leg discomfort, you should see your physician to talk about other alternatives such as interventional pain management or possibly surgery depending on the severity of the stenosis.