Franklin Chiropractor | Lumbar Stenosis

Lumbar Stenosis The term stenosis means “narrowing” of a tube or opening. Spinal stenosis means that the tube surrounding your spinal cord and nerve roots has become too small, and your nerves are being compressed. Stenosis can arise in different ways. Sometimes, people are born with a spinal canal that is too small. Other times, the canal may have been narrowed by surgery or conditions like disc bulges. Most commonly, spinal stenosis arises from chronic arthritic changes that narrow the canal. This type of stenosis usually develops slowly over a long period of time, and symptoms show up later in life. Patients with stenosis often report pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in their legs. Lower back pain may or may not be present, but leg symptoms are usually more bothersome. You may notice increasing symptoms from standing or walking and relief while sitting because the available space in your spinal canal decreases when you stand, walk or lean back and increases when you sit or flex forward. Walking down hill is usually more uncomfortable than walking up hill. You may notice that when you walk with a shopping cart or lawn mower, you are more comfortable, as this promotes slight flexion. Sleeping on your side in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees may be most comfortable. The natural course of spinal stenosis is variable. Most patients notice their symptoms stay about the same over time, while others are divided into fairly equal groups who either improve or worsen. Be sure to tell your doctor if you notice that your legs become cold, swollen or change color. Likewise, tell us if you notice a fever, unexplained weight loss, flu-like symptoms, excessive thirst or urination, numbness in your groin or loss of bladder control. While there is no non-surgical cure for stenosis, we offer potent treatments to help ease your symptoms. Treatment is focused on helping improve your mobility so that you can walk and function better. You will be given exercises to help with conditioning. You should avoid activities that increase your pain, including heavy lifting or those that cause you to extend your back, like prolonged standing or overhead activity. When you are forced to stand, you may find relief by slightly elevating one foot on a stool or bar rail. You may find relief while washing dishes if you open your cabinet door and alternately rest one foot on the inside of the cabinet to provide a little bit of flexion. Recumbent cycling is often a more tolerable alternative to walking or running. Some patients report relief by using the Franklin chiropractors decompression table. Our Treatment Here is a brief description of the treatments we may use to help manage your problem. Joint Manipulation -Your Franklin chiropractor has found joints in your body that are not moving freely. This can cause tightness and discomfort and can accelerate unwanted degeneration i.e. arthritis. Your Franklin chiropractor will apply a gentle force with their hands, or with hand held instruments, in order to restore motion to any “restricted” joints. Sometimes a specialized table will be used to assist with these safe and effective “adjustments”. Joint manipulation improves flexibility, relieves pain and helps maintain healthy joints.
Therapy Modalities -We may apply electrotherapy modalities that produce light electrical pulses transmitted through electrodes placed over your specific sites of concern. These comfortable modalities work to decrease your pain, limit inflammation and ease muscle spasm. Hot or cold packs are often used in conjunction, to enhance the effect of these modalities. Another available option is therapeutic ultrasound. Ultrasound pushes sound vibrations into tissues. When these vibrations reach your deep tissues, heat develops and unwanted waste products are dispersed. Therapeutic Exercise -Muscle tightness or weakness causes discomfort and alters normal joint function, leading to additional problems. Your Franklin chiropractor will target tight or weak muscles with specific therapeutic stretching and strengthening to help increase tissue flexibility, build strength, and ease pain. Healthy, strong, and flexible muscles may help prevent re-injury. Traction – Your condition is aggravated by compression of your spinal joints and discs. We may perform traction “by hand” or utilize a specialized traction table to “decompress” these tissues. Traction helps to stretch your tight muscles and ligaments, improve nutrition to the discs and increases available space in the openings where your spinal nerves exit. Some Things That You can do to help yourself sleep Posture – Your mattress and the position you sleep in may affect your condition. The Franklin chiropractor recommends that you choose a mattress that provides medium or firm support, Avoid waterbeds, thick pillow tops and soft, sagging mattresses. Always sleep on your back with a pillow either underneath your knees or on your side with a pillow between your knees. Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Keep your neck and back covered while sleeping to avoid drafts that could cause potential muscle spasms. Lifting Mechanics -Here are some tips from your Franklin chiropractor to help you lift safely: Avoid lifting or flexing before you’ve had the chance to warm up your muscles (especially when you first awaken or after sitting or stooping for a period of time). To lift, stand close directly facing object with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down by bending with your knees, not your back. Imagine a fluorescent light tube strapped to your head and hips when bending. Don’t “break” the tube with improper movements. Tuck your chin to help keep your spine aligned. Slowly lift by thrusting your hips forward while straightening your legs. Keep the object close to your body, within your power zone” between your hips and chest. Do not twist your body, if you must turn while carrying an object, reposition your feet, not your torso.
Home Exercises You Can Do 1.Knee to Chest -Lie flat on your back with both legs extended. With the assistance of your arms, bring your right knee to your chest and hold it there for 30 seconds. Slowly return to neutral and repeat on the left side for 30 seconds. Finish by bringing both knees to your chest for 60 seconds. Repeat this exercise twice per day or as directed. 1.Seated Lumbar Flexion -Begin sitting on the edge of a stable (non-rolling) chair with your feet shoulder width apart. Flex forward to allow your arms, shoulders, and head to drop between your knees. As you breathe out, slowly “let go” to increase the stretch with each respiration. To increase the stretch, grasp your thighs and pull down further. Maintain this stretch position for 10-30 seconds or as directed. Slowly return to an upright position, using your arms, if necessary, to “walk up” your legs. Perform this stretch three to eight times per day or as directed. Hamstring Doorway Stretch -Lie flat on your back with your leg elevated and positioned in a doorway as shown. “Scoot” toward the door frame until your hamstring is taut. Contract your hamstring by attempting to push your heel into the door frame for seven seconds. Relax and gently slide your buttocks toward the door frame while keeping your knees straight to increase the stretch. Repeat three contract/relax cycles on each side, twice per day or as directed. Alternately, you may provide your own resistance by looping a belt or towel around your heel instead of using a door frame. Cat/Camel -Begin on all 4’s, keeping your back in neutral position. Keep your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Extend your neck and back at the same time into a “Mad Cat” position. Next, flex your neck and back at the same time to drop into an, “Old Horse” position. Repeat in a slow coordinated movement for 20 repetitions. Perform 3 sets of 20 repetitions twice per day, or as directed.