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How to Cure Spinal Stenosis Naturally (+ Causes, Types, Symptoms, and Product Recommendations)

Up to 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lifetimes.

Back pain can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly.

Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.

While there are many causes of back pain, one common culprit is spinal stenosis. 

What is spinal stenosis?

What causes spinal stenosis?

What are the two types of spinal stenosis?

Is spinal stenosis a permanent disability? how to cure spinal stenosis naturally?

Keep reading as we answer these questions and more! 

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a common condition that occurs when the small spinal canal, which contains the nerve roots and spinal cord, becomes compressed.

This causes a “pinching” of the nerve roots and/or spinal cord, which leads to cramping, weakness, numbness, or pain.

Depending on where the narrowing takes place, you may feel these symptoms in your neck, shoulder, arms, or lower back and legs.

Typically, the narrowing is caused by osteoarthritis, or “wear and tear” arthritis, of the spinal column and discs between the vertebrae (the bones of the back).

It may also be caused by a thickening of the ligaments in the back, as well as by a bulging of the discs that separate the vertebrae. 

Symptoms of spinal stenosis start slowly and get worse over time.

Typically, people with spinal stenosis complain of severe pain in the legs, calves, or lower back when standing or walking.

Pain may come on more quickly when walking up or down a hill, a ramp, or steps.

Eventually, pain in the legs may become so severe that walking even short distances is unbearable.

Usually, it is relieved by sitting down or leaning over.

However, not all patients with spinal narrowing develop symptoms – and experts still don’t fully understand why.

Because of this, the term “spinal stenosis” actually refers to the symptoms of pain and not to the narrowing itself.

Is spinal stenosis hereditary? Research has identified potential genetic links to spinal stenosis.

Researchers have found that some people’s genes may put them at higher risk of developing a narrow spinal canal or vertebral foramina.

One research, in particular, concluded that central lumbar spinal stenosis and associated dural sac dimensions are highly genetic, and disc degeneration (bulging) appears to be one pathway through which genes influence spinal stenosis.

Further research is still necessary, but these findings give researchers a better understanding of the condition.

With this, individuals who are at increased risk can be identified early and preventative measures can be initiated.

Is spinal stenosis a permanent disability? Spinal stenosis is typically progressive, although in its earlier stages it may be treated by surgery.

However, in more advanced stages, it may cause such debilitating pain that it becomes impossible to continue working, even if you are doing a relatively sedentary job.

If it gets to this stage, you may qualify for a social security disability benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Spinal stenosis is listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, so this makes it easier to determine whether the symptoms you are experiencing qualify you for a disability benefit.

Spinal stenosis may be operable or improved with treatment, so a disability benefit may only be available for patients who can’t continue working for at least the following 12 months or more after a claim.

Spinal stenosis in some cases can be a permanent disability if it affects your ability to perform basic day-to-day functions.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis? Who Does It Affect?

Some people are born with a small spinal canal – this is known as “congenital stenosis”.

However, spinal narrowing is most often caused by age-related changes that take place over time; this is known as “acquired spinal stenosis.”

The risk of developing spinal stenosis increases if you:

  • Were born with a narrow spinal canal
  • Are you 50 years old or older
  • Are female
  • Had a previous injury or surgery on the spine

Some medical conditions may also cause spinal stenosis. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis and bony spurs that form as we age
  • Inflammatory spondyloarthritis (e.g., ankylosing spondylitis)
  • Paget’s Disease
  • Spinal tumors

Spinal stenosis and leg cramps at night: What causes it?

Nighttime leg cramps (also known as nocturnal leg cramps) are painful, involuntary contractions or spasms in the muscles of the legs.

The hard lump you feel at the point of pain is the contracted muscle.

Leg cramps most commonly occur in the calves and hamstrings, though they can occur in the feet, thighs, and just about any other muscle.

They tend to jolt a person awake in the middle of the night but can also strike in the daytime during physical exertion. 

The cause of nighttime leg cramps can be the result of many conditions ranging from vigorous exercise to spinal stenosis.

With spinal stenosis, it’s common to feel numbness or tingling in one leg or foot, weakness in your leg, and pain or cramping, and it can become worst at night. 

Can spinal stenosis cause hip pain? In some cases, yes.

Although spinal stenosis typically causes leg pain, some patients also experience spinal stenosis and hip pain.

Hip pain is most commonly experienced by patients who have spinal stenosis in the lumbar section of the spine.

Although it does happen, patients with spinal stenosis in the cervical or thoracic sections of the spine are less likely to experience hip pain as a symptom. 

For some patients, spinal stenosis-related hip pain is mild and occasional. For others, the pain is severe and increases gradually over an extended period of time.

It is also possible for the hip pain to extend through the buttocks and the groin or radiate down through the legs.

Generally, spinal stenosis-related hip pain only affects one side of the body.

It typically occurs when the space inside the spinal canal and between vertebrae narrows and compresses a nerve root in the lower (lumbar) spine.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis vs. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis

There are two types of spinal stenosis: cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis is the more common of the two, but cervical spinal stenosis is often more dangerous since it involves compression of the spinal cord.

The types of spinal stenosis are classified according to where on the spine the condition occurs. It’s possible to have more than one type.

The two main types of spinal stenosis are:

  • Cervical stenosis. Cervical spinal stenosis is the name for spinal stenosis in the neck. In this condition, the narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your neck. It can be far more dangerous by compressing the spinal cord. The condition may lead to serious symptoms, which can include major body weakness or paralysis.

Symptoms usually come on gradually. Mild cervical stenosis can have no symptoms at all, but those in more severe cases get progressively worse. Besides the obvious neck pain, cervical spinal stenosis symptoms may include: 

  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Reduced fine motor skills
  • Changes in walking
  • Incontinence or bowel dysfunction
  • Lumbar stenosis. With lumbar stenosis, the narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your lower back. It’s the most common form of spinal stenosis. The spinal nerve roots in the lower back of a patient with lumbar stenosis are compressed (choked). This typically produces symptoms of sciatica. Sciatica is a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve, which extends from the back of the pelvis down the back of the thigh.

Narrowing of the spinal canal usually occurs slowly over many years.

The disks become less spongy with aging, resulting in loss of disk height, and may cause bulging of the hardened disk into the spinal canal.

Bone spurs may also occur and ligaments may thicken.

All of these can contribute to the narrowing of the central canal and may or may not produce symptoms.

Symptoms may be due to inflammation, compression of the nerve(s), or both. Lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms may include:

  • Pain, weakness or numbness in the legs, calves or buttocks
  • Cramping in the calves with walking, requiring frequent short rests to walk a distance
  • Pain radiating into one or both thighs and legs, similar to the lay term “sciatica”
  • In rare cases, loss of motor functioning of the legs, loss of normal bowel or bladder function

Things to avoid with cervical spinal stenosis and lumbar spinal stenosis.

When you have spinal stenosis, there are certain things you need to avoid so you don’t aggravate your condition. Some things you should avoid with cervical spinal stenosis and lumbar spinal stenosis include: 

  • Excessive back extension
  • Running and similar high-impact exercises
  • Certain stretches and poses
  • Contact sports
  • Weightlifting (or lifting heavy objects in general) 

Living with cervical spinal stenosis and lumbar spinal stenosis.

A ‘normal life’ looks different for many people, but you can still live a very full life with cervical spinal stenosis or lumbar spinal stenosis.

If you have a mild case, exercises and nonsurgical treatments may be enough to keep cervical spinal stenosis from impacting your usual routines and activities.

You may consider using back braces and shoes specifically designed for spinal stenosis (you can find our product recommendations below!) which can help alleviate some of the pain and make it easier for you to live with this condition. 

If your condition progresses and gets worse, it may have a more serious impact on your quality of life.

You may need to consider surgery to stop the progression and reduce the pain caused by the compression of your spinal cord and nerve roots.

While surgery may not be an option for everyone, most people do very well after cervical spinal stenosis and lumbar spinal stenosis surgery.

Spinal Stenosis and Sciatica

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is back pain caused by or associated with the sciatic nerve.

The sciatic nerve runs from the lower back down the back of each leg.

Pain caused by pressure on the nerve can affect the lower back, hips, pelvic area, and legs.

Symptoms are often isolated to one leg and include muscle weakness, tingling sensations, and numbness.

Sciatic pain is often sudden and can last for weeks at a time. 

Most cases of back pain are associated with heavy lifting, over-exercise, or general straining of the back muscles.

Sciatic pain will travel from the lower back down into the leg and foot.

This condition is common in pregnant women and individuals with herniated discs.

Spinal stenosis and sciatica: What’s the connection?

Spinal stenosis and sciatica both involve the spinal column, vertebrae, and nerves.

When the space between the vertebrae narrows (also called stenosis), the vertebrae can put pressure on the sciatic nerve causing pain and numbness down one leg, also called sciatica.

Sciatica is a symptom of spinal stenosis, but not all individuals with spinal stenosis will suffer from sciatica.

Sciatica can be a symptom of spinal stenosis.

Both conditions occur when the vertebrae compress one or more of the spinal nerves, causing pain to spread mostly from the back to the legs.

Sciatic pain involves the lower extremities, while spinal stenosis can affect the arms as well.

Treatment options are similar and include physical therapy, pain medication, and surgery.

How to Cure Spinal Stenosis Naturally

What is the latest treatment for spinal stenosis?

One of the latest treatments for spinal stenosis is the use of interspinous spacers.

New and innovative minimally invasive surgical treatments, such as interspinous spacers, can provide pain relief.

Interspinous spacers are a new approach to treating spinal stenosis that works gently and in a targeted way by opening the spinal canal to create room and reduce pressure on crowded nerves.

This approach enables doctors to relieve your pain while safely preserving your spine, its range of motion, and surrounding tissues. It also makes them removable in the future if needed.  

What’s the treatment for spinal stenosis in elderly?

Treatment for spinal stenosis among the elderly depends on the severity of the condition.

A conservative approach is the initial course of treatment for stenosis, especially in the elderly.

Relief of symptoms is often achieved by simply decreasing activities and the use of anti-inflammatory medications.

Physical therapy and strengthening exercises can also be helpful.

In severe cases, surgery may be recommended. 

How do you fix spinal stenosis without surgery? There are several ways on how to cure spinal stenosis naturally, including:

  • Steroid Injections. Epidural steroid injections are commonly used to provide long-term pain relief.
  • Medication. Since there’s still no cure for spinal stenosis, your doctor may prescribe pain management medications, such as NSAIDs and opioids (on a case-by-case basis).
  • Physical Therapy. The last thing you might want to do with spinal stenosis is moved around because it might worsen your symptoms. However, a physical therapist can help teach you exercises that strengthen your back muscles and actually lessen your pain by increasing your flexibility.
  • Posture Correction. Learning how to sit and stand correctly can help ease your pain. In addition to teaching you strengthening exercises, your physical therapist can show you how to care for your spine by simply positioning it correctly.
  • Lifestyle Changes. Weight can play a role in the severity of pain, so your doctor may prescribe weight loss, exercise, and more to lessen the strain on your spine.

The use of back braces, shoes and mattresses specifically designed for spinal stenosis (find our recommendations below!) may also help alleviate some of the pain you’re feeling. 

Product Recommendations: Best Back Braces, Shoes, and Mattresses for Spinal Stenosis

The use of back braces, shoes, and mattresses specifically designed for spinal stenosis may also help alleviate some of the pain you’re feeling. Below, we list some of our top recommendations. 

  • Best Back Brace for Spinal Stenosis. Back pain can be debilitating, so using a back brace to prevent it is key to staying active and healthy. A back brace works by stabilizing your spine and limiting motion. However, please note that using a back brace for spinal stenosis is not a cure-all and is not applicable in all settings. 

With that said, if your doctor recommends the use of a back brace, here are some of our top recommendations:

  • Best Shoes for Spinal Stenosis. While there currently is no cure for spinal stenosis, there are a multitude of treatments that can help to alleviate its symptoms, including wearing shoes that fit well, are adequately cushioned, and provide the right kind of support. 

Here are some of our top picks when it comes to shoes for spinal stenosis:

  • Best Mattress for Spinal Stenosis. Finding it hard to sleep at night with spinal stenosis? If you’re following the best sleep positions for spinal stenosis but still find it painful to lay down, the problem might be your mattress. If you’re looking for the best mattress for spinal stenosis, we’ve got you covered!

Below, we list down our top recommendations when it comes to mattresses for spinal stenosis:

The Bottom Line

Spinal stenosis is a common condition that occurs when the small spinal canal, which contains the nerve roots and spinal cord, becomes compressed.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis start slowly and get worse over time.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for spinal stenosis.

However, there is a multitude of treatments that can help to alleviate its symptoms, including physical therapy, medications, and the use of back braces, shoes, and mattresses for spinal stenosis.

But, in severe cases where the pain becomes debilitating rendering patients unable to work and do normal day-to-day activities, spinal stenosis may be considered a disability and may require surgery. 

If you’re experiencing back pain that isn’t going away, consult your doctor. 

Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All information contained on this website is for general information purposes only.

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