Spinal Stenosis and its associated symptoms can limit physical activity and alter a patient’s day-to-day life. One of the best ways to prevent this from happening is early diagnosis and treatment. Although there is not a non-surgical cure for Spinal Stenosis, physical therapy is a great way to slow down the progression of the condition and minimize or even eliminate symptoms.
Passive Physical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis
Physical therapy that’s administered by a Physical Therapist is called Passive Physical Therapy. Because the patient does no work during the sessions, passive therapy is a great way to treat spinal stenosis without overexerting the spine. Some of the most common types of passive therapy are:
- Deep tissue massage. Relieving muscle tension can take the pressure, caused by spinal stenosis, off the vertebrae and spinal cord.
- Nerve stimulation. Mild electrical impulses release endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers.
- Improved circulation, via heat supplied by sound waves, decreases pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Illustration 1– Passive therapy can reduce inflammation and other symptoms of spinal stenosis.
A Physical Therapist can prescribe any, or any combination, of these treatments based on the severity of symptoms.
Active Physical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis
Active physical therapy refers to stretching and strengthening exercises performed by the patient. Because no two patients are the same, an active physical therapy plan is always customized. Some of the benefits of active therapy include:
- Improved spine flexibility and strength
- Increased core strength
- Improved posture
All of these can lead to lasting symptom relief.
Combining Physical Therapy with Other Treatment Options
Orthopedic specialists are the best suited to prescribe physical therapy to treat spinal stenosis. In some cases, they may combine physical therapy with over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, prescription non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, and/or pain relieving injections. When spinal stenosis isn’t diagnosed and treated early, the condition might reach the point where surgery is the only treatment option.
Contacting an Orthopedic Spine Specialist
If you have back and/or extremity pain that won’t go away, it’s important that you contact an Orthopedic Spine Specialist. Their knowledge and experience allow them to properly diagnose and treat back pain caused by a variety of conditions, including spinal stenosis. At Plymouth Bay Orthopedic Associates our Spine Team collaborates with our Physical Therapy Team to create the most effective plan for you.
If Physical Therapy is one of the treatment options that’s right for you, you’ll be in a great position to live a functional, pain-free life. For over 20 years, our Massachusetts Board Certified Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists along with our very dedicated Physical Therapy Assistants and Rehabilitation Aides have been providing superior physical and occupational therapy to our patients in the areas of general orthopedics, sports injuries, geriatric rehabilitation and hand/upper extremity injuries. The road to recovery starts when you walk through our doors! Give us a call and will get you an appointment ASAP.