Three exercises you should avoid when you have spinal stenosis

Spinal Stenosis Exercises to Avoid

Dealing with spinal stenosis can be tough on anyone. This issue can affect the neck or lower back, and it can cause symptoms like numbness, tingling and pain. 

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within your spine narrow. Often, this can lead to pinched nerves. Unfortunately, the number of people living with spinal stenosis symptoms is fairly high: One study reveals that up to about 500,000 Americans are currently living with this spine condition. Physical therapists can show you exercises and other techniques to treat spinal stenosis, but they can also help you learn which exercises you should avoid when you have spinal stenosis. 

People with spinal stenosis should avoid these three types of exercise

Getting your body moving can be helpful for many types of pain, and the pain of spinal stenosis is no exception. One of the main ways physical therapists treat this condition is with certain stretches and strengthening exercises. However, there are some exercises that your physical therapist will encourage you to avoid if you have spinal stenosis. 

Three such exercises include: 

  1. Extension stretches — Extending the lower back causes the back side of each vertebra to get closer to its neighbors. This can cause the nerve pathways to narrow even more, which can lead to more nerve compression and pain. For this reason, your physical therapist will likely ask you not to do the: 
  • Cobra stretch
  • Piriformis stretch
  • Standing extension stretch
  1. Running — This is a commonly used cardio exercise, but it’s also high impact. A high-impact exercise is one that puts lots of stress on your body. Adding stress to your spine can make the symptoms of spinal stenosis worse. However, you can try walking instead. Just be sure to start with short walks and increase distance gradually. Also, you could try low-impact cardio options like swimming. 
  1. Lower back exercises — Building up strength in your lower back can help spinal stenosis patients. In fact, stronger back muscles can better support your spine, which can ease pressure on compressed nerves. However, there are strengthening exercises that won’t likely offer these benefits when you have spinal stenosis. This is especially true if they involve lower back extension. A few such exercises that you should avoid are the: 
  • Glute bridge
  • Superman
  • Cat-cow exercise

Find out more about exercises you should avoid with spinal stenosis at SSOR

Want to make sure you’re avoiding exercises that can worsen your spinal stenosis symptoms? Our SSOR team can help you with this goal, and we can also help you reduce and prevent your symptoms. Our physical therapists can do a free screening of your back to learn how spinal stenosis is affecting you. Then, we can create a personalized therapy plan for you that’s designed to reduce symptoms and prevent future flare-ups. 

Don’t have time to come to an in-person appointment? Our team can save you some time with our at-home care and virtual therapy services. We can even help you treat your spinal stenosis if you don’t have a referral from your doctor. 

Contact us today for more information about our spinal stenosis treatment options or to schedule an initial appointment.