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How to prevent spinal stenosis symptoms and treatment

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The spinal canal is a hollow tube-shaped area in the middle of the spine that surrounds the spinal nerves. It comes from the brain and passes through the cervical and thoracic vertebrae from the lumbar to the lower extremities, and serves as a passageway for nerves. Spinal stenosis refers to a disease that causes pain and other neurological abnormalities due to narrowing of the spinal canal in the center of the spine and the nerve root canal or intervertebral foramen for some reason. It usually occurs in the lumbar region of the lower back and is known as a representative geriatric spinal disease that occurs frequently in the elderly. It is also known to occur more frequently in women than in men. It is believed to be caused by factors such as hormonal changes and osteoporosis that occur after menopause. The main causes of spinal stenosis are divided into congenital factors and degenerative factors. The congenital factor is a case where the size of the lumbar canal is congenitally smaller than normal, and it is known that symptoms occur due to overlapping changes in bones and ligaments usually after the mid-30s, and it is also found in young people around the age of 20. It is also known that degenerative factors are caused by the thickening of joints and ligaments due to degenerative osteoarthritis of the spine, and the protrusion of the intervertebral disc and the narrowing of the nerve area. Now, let’s learn more about the main symptoms, treatment, and prevention of spinal stenosis in more detail.

Symptoms of Spinal Canal Stenosis

When the site of spinal canal stenosis occurs in the lumbar region, which is the lower back, back pain occurs frequently and is accompanied by pain such as squeezing or stinging toward the buttocks or anus. It may also be accompanied by loss of muscle strength in the legs and sensory disturbances such as loss of sensation and numbness. These abnormalities are aggravated by activities in cold temperatures, and then are alleviated when entering a warm space or taking a break. Also, when spinal stenosis occurs in the cervical vertebrae, which is the cervical vertebra, pain occurs in the neck, shoulders, and arms, depending on the degree of damage to the nerve tissue, and disturbances in normal movement and sensory abnormalities may appear. These symptoms often appear after the age of 50, have a cycle of remission and aggravation, progress slowly, and then rapidly deteriorate due to external factors such as trauma. In addition, symptoms such as urination disorder as well as gait disorder caused by mild motor dysfunction and paralysis of the legs may be accompanied.

The symptoms of spinal stenosis are often confused as there are many similarities to the herniated disc. There is pain in the lower back and legs, and the paresthesia symptoms such as numbness are similar, but unlike a herniated disc that causes pain continuously, spinal canal stenosis has the characteristic that the pain is somewhat reduced when you bend your back or sit down. there is. Even if these symptoms of spinal stenosis appear, if treatment is delayed and left unattended for a long time, leg pain and numbness will worsen, causing more difficulties in normal activities. In addition, if the symptoms progress further and symptoms of spinal cord injury appear, pain sensation and position vibration sensation may appear as disturbances in the motor sense, and if the symptoms are more severe, it may lead to symptoms such as motor paralysis and urination disturbance. Therefore, it is important to receive treatment through proper diagnosis and examination before symptoms get worse, and it is recommended to improve bad habits that cause worsening of symptoms.

Treatment and prevention of spinal stenosis

1. Diagnosis and treatment

In order to diagnose the symptoms of spinal canal stenosis, a medical history must be taken to check the direct symptoms of walking and activity, and a physical examination to check for abnormalities in sensation, muscle strength, and reflexes in the lower extremities is performed. X-ray imaging, CT, and MRI are also performed to accurately check the shape and size of degenerative lesions of the lumbar spine and central spinal canal. Depending on the diagnosis result, non-surgical treatment and surgical treatment are performed. Non-surgical treatment includes exercise therapy, physical therapy, manual therapy, and drug therapy using anti-inflammatory analgesics and muscle relaxants. And if there is no improvement despite several conservative treatments, or if there is a decrease in muscle strength, symptoms of spinal cord injury, caudal plexus syndrome, etc., various surgical methods such as laminectomy and nerve decompression should be considered.

2. Steady implementation of exercises to strengthen the lower back

In order to prevent and manage symptoms of spinal stenosis, it is important to exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles around the back, abdominal muscles, and spine. In particular, such regular exercise strengthens the muscles around the spine, helping to reduce overweight, which is the main factor that accelerates degenerative changes, and at the same time, helps maintain an appropriate weight. Exercises such as walking, swimming, climbing, stretching, and aerobics are exercises that have a good effect on strengthening the muscles around the back and spine, so it is recommended to perform them regularly. In particular, swimming is known as an exercise that works effectively to help strengthen the muscles of the back, stomach, and legs while minimizing the load on the vertebral joints. Contrary to many of these helpful exercises, it is recommended to limit extreme exercise that puts too much pressure on the lower back or excessive strength exercise that lifts a heavy object because it puts a load on the lower back and spine. In addition, it is recommended to avoid carrying a heavy load that is too heavy to lift, or work that moves the lower back too much, as it can put a load on the spine and promote degenerative changes.

3. Maintain good posture

The habit of maintaining an incorrect posture for a long time due to work or schoolwork is also a factor that puts a strain on the spine and promotes degenerative changes, so it is recommended to always maintain a correct posture. In particular, maintaining a posture that straightens the spine is known to play an important role in preventing turtle neck syndrome, neck disc, and lumbar disc. In addition, it is recommended to avoid wearing shoes that are too high and hard for a long time, as they can also put strain on the spine.

In addition to this, it is said that smoking cessation is a good way to quit smoking, as it is known that smoking can worsen the occurrence of stenosis because it causes the constriction of blood vessels. Also, regular intake of foods rich in ingredients that increase bone density and strengthen bones, such as half-body bathing and warm compresses, as well as calcium and vitamin D, are important management habits for preventing and relieving symptoms of spinal canal stenosis.

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I am a contributor to Advancetec.co.uk. I am fascinated by technology overall, especially crypto and it's potential to disrupt the global financial system. But until that future comes, I am perfectly content immersing myself in gaming, movies, gadgets, and all of the other wonders of the modern world.