Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Physical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis

Topic Overview

The purpose of physical therapy is to decrease pain and allow you to gradually return to your normal activities. Physical therapy for spinal stenosis involves treatment with physical or mechanical means, such as through exercise or heat. Physical therapy may reduce pain in the soft tissues (such as the muscles, ligaments, and tendons), improve function, and build muscle strength. A physical therapist provides these treatments and will also provide education, instruction, and support for recovery.

Physical therapy techniques may include:

  • Stretching, to reduce stress on joints.
  • Education, to help you improve and maintain your posture.
  • Exercise, to strengthen muscles.
  • Manual therapy, including massage, to improve or keep range of motion.
  • Heat therapy, to improve blood circulation to the muscles and other soft tissues.
  • Ice therapy, to help relieve pain.
  • Cycling and limited walking, to promote good physical conditioning.
  • Aquatic exercises, to allow your body to exercise without pressure on the spine.

Exercises and techniques that may help relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis and prevent progression of the condition include:

  • Lower limb strengthening, which may help prevent falls.
  • Stretching.
  • Pelvic tilts and lower back stabilizing.
  • Frequent changes of position, to avoid sustained postures that compress the spine.
  • Planning ahead so that you take breaks in between potentially back-stressing activities such as walking and yard work.
  • Proper lifting, pushing, and pulling.

Your doctor or a physical therapist will design a program specific to your normal level of activity, physical fitness, and severity of pain.

Health Tools

Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.

Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems.

Credits

Current as of: March 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma

COVID-19 Updates

Do you ever feel at times due to life being so busy you put your health on hold? Now is the time to take care of you! For many of our patients we have postponed your annual exam by moving it out a few months in response to COVID-19, but we still want to make sure we have the opportunity to take care of you from afar. If you are our patient and have not had the opportunity for us to review your cancer family history with you, or maybe you have just put this on hold, here is the opportunity for you to fill out your information in a few quick steps online to see if testing is right for you! This questionnaire on your medical history will be posted to our website as well to access and to complete. So take control of your health today! We will be happy to direct you to right resources and follow up with you for any questions you may have.

OBGALS Logo