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Exercise Can Relieve Spinal Stenosis

Doe exercise help spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a natural occurrence of an aging spine. Discs degenerate. Ligaments widened. The space for your nerves decrease. To those affected, there can be pain, and walking difficulties. Surgery may or may not be a solution.

So, what can you do?

It turns out exercise can have a significant positive impact on spinal stenosis.

exercise can have a significant positive impact on spinal stenosis

Besides the improvement of the cardiovascular system, exercise can increase your tolerance to spinal stenosis. Many will experience less pain, and increased walking tolerance.

So what is the best exercise?

First of all, most exercise is good. But, you must be reasonable and consider your underlying health status before being too aggressive. It is important to move, stay active, and stay engaged with others.

Scientific studies suggest Core Strengthening exercises may be better than just stretching.

So, what is a core exercise? They are exercises that focus on your back and your stomach muscles.

The simplest one to do is the Plank.

The Plank

Basically, it is a pushup, only you keep your arms extended, and you body in a straightened posture, holding the straight position with your toes, and hands. If you have difficulty do this with your toes, you can also use just your knees. Hold this position, breathing comfortably. Ideally you will be able to hold this position for at least a 45 seconds. In the beginning, it may only be for a much shorter time. As your core gets stronger, you should be able to achieve more than a minute.

There is the side plank, which is a similar concept, but you are on the side, supporting yourself on your elbow and feet. You can switch sides. Again, you want to work up to doing the side plank for 45 seconds or more on each side.

Side Plank

Modified pushups, using your knees also build your core. Make sure with all these exercises, you maintain proper body posture and breathing.

Modified Push-up

If you can do these core exercises 3-4 x a week, working up to a 10 minute per session time, you will build your core muscles by week 4.

The additional core strength could help minimize your back pain and leg pain associated with spinal stenosis.

If you add walking to this routine, and light weights, there will be improvement to your body.

While exercises will not cure your Spinal stenosis, it is a factor you can control. It is a positive action to dealing with the problem.

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Last modified: July 10, 2020

2 thoughts on “Exercise Can Relieve Spinal Stenosis

  1. Thank you Dr. John Shim.
    I am a Singaporean Chinese, living in the Republic of Singapore, which is part of South-East Asia, some 20,000 km from the US and 13 hours ahead.
    I am 84 years old and a happy great grandfather. I have had been active in most sports all my life and also Infantry officer in the SAF for 12 years. I was diagnosed with cervical spinal stenosis six years ago by MRI only and urged to go for a major surgery with 20 complications. I flatly declined. I believe “Let food be your medicine” and daily exercise will rejuvinate your body no matter how young and old you are. Period!

    1. Mr. Goh, Thank you for your comment. My father is 85 years old and would agree with all you have said. I always encourage people to exercise, eat a balanced diet, and think positively. It makes a difference. While I have performed thousands of surgeries, the best results are still from people who get better without an operation. Stay positive. Thanks again sir.

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