Have you ever heard of Spinal Stenosis? We see this in some of our patients at Rushmore Family Chiropractic. Stenosis is a narrowing or compression of the spinal cord, caused by simple things: gravity, age, arthritis, disc herniations, scar tissue, even normal spinal misalignment. Not surprisingly, stenosis grows more common as we age. Even simple acts like standing and sitting, with stenosis, can be very uncomfortable, limiting and even painful. We know that’s of critical concern to older Americans – movement is key to keeping healthy. We have to move to stay alive. Anything that prohibits movement is cause for concern and might seriously affect our health.
Curling into a ball can widen the space around the spinal cord and provide some temporary relief but for many sufferers of stenosis, surgery may be the only permanent solution. However, surgery means a long recovery time, periods of inactivity and exposure to potentially addictive pain medications. Many stenosis sufferers want an alternative, if possible, particularly when the condition is in its initial stages. There are manipulations that can give relief for stenosis - just see your chiropractor.
If you are suffering from severe spinal problems such as stenosis, you obviously want to consult with an orthopedic surgeon as well as with your chiropractor. We may be able to suggest alternatives to surgery or, at the least, a way to prolong surgery. We also might be able to suggest ways to help get you back on your feet faster, after surgery.
But preventing stenosis is preferred. The earlier the signs are shown, the better the chance of doing something about it. A great way to incorporate regular exercise into your regimen while specifically combating some of the common causes of stenosis would be to add tennis to your physical fitness routine.
Why tennis? First, we are recommending tennis to those who do not yet have stenosis, as a preventative measure. For those who have already been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, other treatments may be recommended since tennis involves a lot of twisting and turning which might exacerbate the symptoms of stenosis.
But for those who want to try to prevent stenosis, tennis is excellent to incorporate into your exercise routine. Tennis has many overall health benefits, like burning 600 calories per hour, boosting your cardiovascular health, encouraging muscular development (which supports your spine), tactical brain development and coordination. The weight-burning and muscular development components are most significant for those who are trying to prevent stenosis. Weight pushes upon the muscles around the spinal column, which then compresses the spinal cord. Muscles, when strong and when weight is kept lower, support the spine and help to keep it in optimum health.
You’ll want to have a conversation with your chiropractor if you feel that you’re at risk for stenosis. Ask about incorporating tennis into your lifestyle – when a modest amount of rigorous activity, like tennis, becomes part of your regular routine, you’re more likely maintain good health and fitness throughout your life.