With age comes a variety of ailments. Even though a person might have tried their level best to maintain a healthy life, aging would make them vulnerable to various ailments. The common health issues that older adults face include joint pains, back aches, knee pain, etc. It is an accepted fact that with age, the wear and tear cause our joints to weaken, and we aren’t as strong as we were during our heydays. One of the most common ailments that affect a majority of the population above 50 years of age is spinal stenosis.
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a disorder that affects the spinal cord, causing the spinal canal to narrow. The spinal canal is a passage of nerves that spread to the center of the back. When the spinal canal starts narrowing, it exerts a lot of pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves on the back, which in turns causes excruciating pain in the back, sciatica, and nerve-related problems.
Causes of spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis is mostly the collateral damage caused by arthritis. Since arthritis causes thickening of ligaments, disc changes, and bone spurs, it would exert pressure on the spinal cord, and thereby cause spinal stenosis. The other causes of spinal stenosis are herniated discs, injuries, tumors, and Paget’s disease.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis manifest itself in the form of sciatica, which is characterized by a pain that begins from the legs and spreads to the lower back and buttocks. Other symptoms of spinal stenosis include foot drop, loss of bladder movement, and experiencing difficulty in standing and walking.
Though there are various medical treatments for spinal stenosis, home treatments work better in the long run.
Home treatment for spinal stenosis
Though the person might suffer from a backache, this shouldn’t confine them to a sedentary lifestyle. Instead of sitting all day long, one can combat spinal stenosis by exercising regularly. The intention of regular exercise is to build up strength and stamina slowly. Since it is not a process that would happen overnight, it requires a lot of patience and determination. A combination of strength training and aerobics would ensure that the inflammation caused by spinal stenosis would subside, and this would also help in increasing the bone density.
A lot of spinal issues are caused due to bad body posture. The tendency to slouch while working, sitting, watching TV, etc., results in our body adopting this posture as a permanent posture. The right posture would protect the spine and reduce the chances of aggravating spinal stenosis as it would reduce the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The right posture is when the back is straight; heels are on the floor, knees are bent slightly, and the chin is parallel to the ground. So, practicing this posture would reduce the pressure on the spine and ease the pain caused by spinal stenosis.
An extension of the method to improve one’s posture to treat spinal stenosis is the chiropractic method. This method involves manipulating the musculoskeletal system, and the emphasis is mostly on the spine. When a person opts for the chiropractic method for treating spinal stenosis, the chiropractors would manipulate the spine to release the pressure exerted on the spine and nerves, thereby helping to improve one’s posture. This traditional method of healing without medicines is quite effective.
Stretching for flexibility
We are familiar with how stretching exercises help relieve our muscles after an intense workout. Similarly, stretching exercises help in reducing the impact of spinal stenosis immensely. Stretching exercises play a major role in helping stiff muscles relax, and facilitates easy movement. Also, stretching exercises reduce the chances of injury by keeping the muscles active and helps in relieving the pent-up stress.
The best way to deal with spinal stenosis is to seek help from someone who knows what they are doing. This person is the physiotherapist. The physiotherapist would ensure help speed up the healing process by guiding the person to perform the right kind of exercises. These exercises are intended to help improve a person’s posture and strengthen the core muscles.
Natural methods to reduce pain
Instead of opting for painkillers to reduce the pain caused by spinal stenosis, one can opt for natural ways to reduce the pain. If one suffers from joint or muscle pain, it is advisable to apply hot and cold compress simultaneously. In addition to the hot and cold compress, one can also take Epsom salt baths, which are known to reduce inflammation caused by spinal stenosis.
Making amends to one’s diet is a great way of controlling the damage caused by spinal stenosis. A healthy and balanced diet would help in reducing weight, which in turn would reduce the pressure exerted on the spine. Include anti-inflammatory foods such as leafy vegetables in the diet; this would prevent the weakening of the bones due to inflammation.