Spinal canal stenosis, or narrowing of the central canal that protects the spinal cord, is a common condition that is often unavoidably related to the natural aging process. While there is no way to entirely prevent this condition, there are several tips you can follow to reduce the likelihood that you’ll develop the condition later in life.
Take care of your spine
Canal stenosis isn’t inherently symptoms, but when the narrowing results in the compression of the spinal cord or an exiting nerve root, it can cause a variety of symptoms. Often, this narrowing can be traced to the presence of nearby degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs, osteoarthritis and spondylolisthesis — conditions that can develop following years of wear and tear on the spinal column.
Here are four tips to help keep your spine healthy and reduce the chance that you’ll develop degenerative spine conditions like canal stenosis:
- Avoid repetitive bending, twisting and lifting. Repeated flexion and extension takes a toll on the spinal anatomy and can gradually cause problems to occur. For example, if you have a job that requires heavy lifting, make sure to use the lifting techniques you’ve been taught to reduce strain on your neck and back. Also make sure to wear proper shoes and protective gear such as a back brace.
- Take frequent breaks from sitting. Because prolonged sitting is hard on your spine, the best thing you can do is to take frequent breaks and move around. If you have an office job, get up and walk around whenever you can.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, it can add to the stress being placed on spinal anatomy. With time, this excess body weight can speed up the degenerative process, causing neck and back problems like canal stenosis to develop later in life.
- Don’t play high-impact sports. Spinal degeneration is often traced to participation in high-impact sports like football, hockey and golf. In addition to the potential for injury, these sports often entail jarring movements and hard hits that can make the spine more susceptible to long-term damage.
Seeking treatment for canal stenosis
By knowing which risk factors can contribute to the development of canal stenosis, it’s possible to limit the likelihood that you’ll develop problems. However, if you are diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition, it’s important to know that there are effective treatments that can help you enjoy a good quality of life. In many cases a course of conservative treatment options like rest, medication, physical therapy, hot and cold compression and spinal injections. Surgery can become an option if weeks or months of conservative treatment have not brought the relief needed for a good quality of life.
As a safer and effective alternative to hospital-based traditional open neck or back procedures, USA Spine Care provides minimally invasive spine surgery on an outpatient basis. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our patients are able to enjoy a streamlined experience with less risk of complication compared to traditional open spine surgery.