Is Spinal Stenosis Preventable?
Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: July 13, 2020
Spinal stenosis is a relatively common health condition that involves the narrowing of the spinal canal to the point where pressure is exerted on the spinal cord, causing nerve-related pain. Since the most common contributing factor for spinal stenosis is age, many wonder if this condition can be prevented. While it’s not completely preventable, there are a number of things you can do to help reduce your risk of developing spinal stenosis later in life. Below, we share some ways you can work to prevent spinal stenosis onset.
Preventing Spinal Stenosis
So while there is no way to turn back the clock on your spine, there are some ways to help keep your spine healthy as you age to help prevent the onset of spinal canal narrowing. Some of those tips include:
- Exercise – You may believe that exercise and physical activity could actually serve to speed up the degenerative process of spinal canal narrowing, but that’s typically not the case. Severe exertion of the spine can do more harm than good, but in most instances, exercise will help keep your spine ready for all that you’ll ask of it over the years. Exercise helps by strengthening key muscle groups that support your spine and assists it as it displaces stress. If your muscles are better equipped to handle pressure, they won’t break down as quickly and put abnormal stress on your spinal canal. Moreover, exercise helps you maintain an optimal weight, as being overweight or obese has been linked to faster spinal structure breakdown and stenosis onset.
- Diet – Similar to the above point, a healthy diet will make it easier to maintain an ideal body weight, which will help you stave off spinal stenosis.
- Avoiding Smoking – Smoking inhibits healthy blood flow to key spinal structures, and structural breakdown occurs more quickly when areas can’t receive ample blood flow. Protecting your spine against stenosis may be as simple as giving up smoking.
- Posture Awareness – Having good posture and practicing healthy body mechanics are two great ways to help prevent spinal stenosis. Throughout the day, perform regular posture checks and make corrections so that you’re not slouching or leaning forward, as this can put excessive stress on your cervical or lumbar spine. If these areas are constantly being forced to handle extra stress because of your posture or movement mechanics, they are more likely to break down over time. Strive to keep your head positioned directly over your shoulders when seated, and be aware of how your movements are impacting your spine.
- Get A Diagnosis – If you suspect that you may be dealing with a pinched nerve or another stenosis-related condition, get an official diagnosis from a spine specialist. They can help determine which factors are contributing to your stenosis and which mitigation techniques will have the highest likelihood of success. Stenosis isn’t going to go away on its own, and if you keep on doing the same activities that led to the condition, odds are you are going to make it worse. Spinal stenosis responds well to conservative treatment when intervention is early, so don’t ignore your spinal discomfort. Be seen by a specialist sooner rather than later.
For more information about spinal stenosis and what you can do to prevent and treat the condition, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.