Living With Spinal Stenosis

Article Author: Terressa Pierce

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the nerves. It can be caused by several things such as, bone spurs, degeneration of the spinal disc, arthritis, spinal tumors, and scoliosis.

In my case, a combination of bone spurs, disc degeneration, and my previous back surgery all contributed to my having spinal stenosis.

The pain was a severe burning sensation across the top of my feet, next to the ankle, and it made walking and/or standingtoo painful to attempt.

Spinal stenosis also caused pain in my right upper arm after waking up in the mornings. It usually took an hour or more before the pain subsided.

You can read more about my personal story about back pain and back problems. Western medicine provided two main treatment options; surgery and/or popping pain pills. Neither option appealed to me, so I began trying alternative treatment for spinal stenosis which provided some relief.

Today, I am walking pain free and only have a problem if I wear certain shoes. I no longer wake up with my arm aching and I believe diet, exercise, and affirmations help to resolve this problem.

If you are suffering from spinal stenosis, please look over the list below for suggestions which may offer you some pain relief.

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1. Spinal Stenosis Shoes

My job required safety shoes, so I picked boots for ankle support. I got a size about 3/4" longer than needed and this seemed to help alleviate some of the stress put on the spine from trying to maintain balance (my theory).

I could tell the shoes really helped because I could walk pain free. When I changed into my regular shoes the pain immediately came back.

I purchased new work boots about every six months, even though the shoes still looked good.

Apparently they were worn enough to cause a shift in posture (again, my theory) because the pain would start again, but after replacing the shoes, it would go away again.

2. Diet

I noticed that certain things, like sodas would cause my fingers to swell.

I reasoned that if my fingers were swelling, than other places in my body could be retaining fluid also, putting pressure on nerves as they passed through the narrow openings of my spine (my theory).

I eliminated or rarely consumed sodas, chips and other products with preservatives that I felt were causing inflammation in my tissues.

I also lost a few pounds, again, to help remove extra stress I was putting on my spine.

3. Exercise

If you are in serious pain, you know your exercise program will not include vigorous exercise. You can, however, do stretching that will benefit the muscles in your back and alleviate pressure on the nerves.

This is something you may want to discuss with your physician because in some cases, it may cause increased pain.

My neurosurgeon prescribed physical therapy treatments (traction) and after two treatments, I had to stop therapy due to an increase in pain.

I did continue doing the simple stretching exercises at home.

4. Affirmations

This is where the mind, body connection become a valuable asset to us, when we use it for helping reduce pain.

Science is beginning to provide the proof that what you tell yourself mentally can aid in the healing process.

An affirmation is a positive statement asserting that a goal the speaker or thinker wishes to achieve is already happening. I use the following statements, but you can create your own using whatever statement you feel comfortable using:

"Everyday, in every way, my back becomes stronger and stronger" "Everyday, in every way, my health gets better and better."

Repeat these statements out loud or mentally to yourself at least 20 times when you get up in the morning and before going to sleep at night. I often said them out loud in the car while driving to work.

5. Alternative Therapies

I have not, personally, tried massage, but I have several friends who swear that massage by a trained therapist really does provide pain relief.

Acupuncture was another treatment option that was recommended. I did not realize it at the time, but hypnosis would have been a great alternative to try. Bottom line, I would try any alternative therapy before I would opt for surgery or resort to popping pills the rest of my life.

I hope one or more of my suggestions will provide help with your spinal stenosis pain. If you know of anything that can help others, please share it. Submit your information via the contact form.

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