Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the openings through which either the spinal cord or the nerves that exit the spine are narrowing. When the openings narrow enough, they will begin to put pressure on the cord or nerves that cause symptoms. The symptoms that a patient with spinal stenosis experiences depends on which part of the spine the stenosis is taking place. Spinal stenosis in the neck will likely cause symptoms in the arms while stenosis in the lower back will cause symptoms in the legs. Treating spinal stenosis with chiropractic care can be very effective but it is just one of many conservative treatment options.
The symptoms typically found in spinal stenosis can help with diagnosing the condition. In most cases of lower back pain, sitting is painful while walking helps relieve the pain, spinal stenosis is the opposite in that sitting often decreases the pain and walking increases the pain. There are specific orthopedic tests for diagnosing spinal stenosis but definitive diagnosis requires either x-rays or MRI but these are not always necessary for treatment to begin.
Treating Spinal Stenosis With Chiropractic
Treating spinal stenosis with chiropractic focuses on improving the movement (biomechanics) of the joints at the affected levels. In many cases, spine-related symptoms result from a number of different issues that all contribute to the dysfunction, spinal stenosis is no different. Spinal stenosis causes local irritation of the joints and tightness of the muscles – chiropractic treatment reduces joint irritation and helps relax tight muscles, which in itself can be enough to significantly improve if not eliminate the symptoms that you are experiencing.
As with many conditions that affect the spinal column, treating spinal stenosis with chiropractic care includes techniques that help restore or improve range of motion, therapy that helps reduce inflammation and specific stretches and exercises that help strengthen the spine. Not all cases of spinal stenosis require surgery. We have had many patients over the years who have completely eliminated their symptoms of spinal stenosis with chiropractic care and we suggest that you try conservative chiropractic care before trying more aggressive therapies (surgery).