Lumbar stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

Lumbar stenosis physical therapy exercises  5 star quality site for more information on lumbar stenosis -this website is the location of the picture above

Surgical decompression versus physical therapy for lumbar stenosis patients that were surgical candidates resulted in nearly the same outcomes according to the Annals of Internal Medicine 2015

Ann Intern Med. 2015 Apr 7;162(7):465-73. doi: 10.7326/M14-1420.Surgery versus nonsurgical treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis: a randomized trial.Delitto A, Piva SR, Moore CG, Fritz JM, Wisniewski SR, Josbeno DA, Fye M, Welch WC.– scholarly article for the above article and it is exceptional

Now take this information with a grain of salt. If you have tried physical therapy and exercises for stenosis and you still have….

  1. Intractable local pain or sciatica

2. Significant weakness down the legs from the stenosis

Then under the the direction of your orthopedic surgeon you really should likely have decompression surgery.

Lumbar stenosis is the narrowing of the vertebral openings (foramen) where the nerves branch out from the spinal cord and/or the narrowing of the canal where the spinal cord is located.

The consequences of lumbar stenosis are numbness down the legs, weakness down the legs, and/or pain in the low back.

This condition is more common in those that are advanced in (age >65) due to degenerative disc disease and/or degenerative joint disease.

The treatment options are from conservative to less conservative.

  1. Anti- inflammatory medication if ok per physician
  2. Physical therapy and exercises
  3. Cortisone Injections
  4. Spinal decompression- surgical opening of the vertebrae for pressure relief on the spinal cord or peripheral nerves

Some things to avoid are: Lumbar extension, standing up straight. Good positions are sitting and leaning forward on support area like the kitchen sink.

A few physical therapy exercises and helpful strategies for this condition are listed below:

  1. Using a walker to help with relief of pressure on the spine. site. 

2.  Single knee to chest and double knee to chest Very good site for additional information.

Bring one knee to the chest gently hold 45 seconds perform 3 x, 2 x a day, 5 x a week

Bring both knees to the chest gently hold 45 seconds perform 3 x , 2 x a day, 5 x a week

3.  Muslim prayer stretch A site for some more exercises. 

Perform on soft surface to help knees – 3 x for 45 seconds, 2 x a day, 5 x a week  Excellent site for more pictures of exercises. This is an alternate to the exercise above- same reps as above






9 thoughts on “Lumbar stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

    1. I can try and talk you through it for your back pain if you like. There are a few possibilities. Herniated disc, sciatica, stenosis, sacroiliac joint pain. If you have time tell me your symptoms, when it started to hurt, what hurts the most in positions ie sit, stand, walk, laying down. I’ll help direct you if you need to see orthopedic doctor, local PT , etc…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have no problem for quite some time. I know that it comes from lifting up too heavy things in the wrong position and it is always in that lower back area.


      2. I think you may have symptoms of a herniated disc that is kind of latent. On my blog site blog # 15, 16 or 17 it has a video of a herniated disc and some treatment ideas. If it flares up let me know I can try to help you get it better.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Be sure that I will ask you if it comes back! I could imagine that I was close to it once, 4 years ago. But I wasn’t diagnosed that way and some chiropractor visits already helped to get better after 10 days…. but it was not funny!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thanks for the guidelines to help decide if surgery is necessary. I have controlled the Sciatica and IT band pain pretty well with ice, rest, exercises, stretches, and Aleve for 6-10 years. I recently found I had just as good relief from 2 arthritis strength Tylenols three times a day, as I did with 2 Aleves twice a day. Of course I can feel when it’s time for the afternoon Gabapentin. I have had the cortisone injections 2 times with decreased help from it. I now see a chiropractor every one and a half weeks and am pretty stabilized. Thanks for your excellent advice!!

    Liked by 1 person

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