Is Spinal Stenosis an Inevitable Part of Aging?

Many people think that aches and pains, including back pain, are an inevitable part of aging — but they’re wrong. While age is a factor in conditions like spinal stenosis, herniated discs, arthritis, and other back problems, that doesn’t mean we’re all in for a future of pain. 

Here at Spine & Pain Institute of Florida in Lakeland, Florida, Navdeep Jassal, MD, our board-certified pain management expert, not only offers highly customized treatments for spinal stenosis, but he can help you protect your back and overall health to prevent back pain.

What is spinal stenosis anyway?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that develops when your spinal column narrows. The condition usually develops in either your lower (lumbar) or neck (cervical) spine. 

Your spine consists of a series of vertebrae separated by rubbery discs that provide support, flexibility, and shock absorption. Your vertebrae create a column that surrounds and protects your spinal cord. That column is narrow, and any inflammation or structural irregularity can make it narrow. 

When your spine is too narrow, you have a high chance of experiencing compression of the nerves in your spinal cord or the peripheral nerves that extend from your spine out through your body. The condition usually causes pain as well as weakness and numbness in your hands, arms, feet, and legs, as well as cramping and balance problems. 

What causes spinal stenosis?

Several factors can cause spinal stenosis. For example, herniated discs, arthritis, bone spurs, thickened ligaments, and tumors can all lead to spinal stenosis. You might also develop spinal stenosis from general degenerative wear and tear on your spine.

While your age is a risk factor for all of the conditions that can cause spinal stenosis, that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable. 

Preventing spinal stenosis

Starting and maintaining healthy habits now is critical to reducing your risk of spinal stenosis and other back problems. For example, getting regular exercise is not only great for your overall health, but it keeps your spine healthy and flexible and helps you manage your weight — another contributing factor to a variety of conditions that cause spinal stenosis. Even taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day can help.

You should also make time to stretch. We’re not saying you have to become a yoga devotee, just take time to stretch your body. Keeping your muscles and connective tissues supple and flexible decreases your risk of injury. 

You should also pay attention to your posture. Too many of us spend our days slouched at a desk or hunched over scrolling through our phones. Poor posture stresses your muscles, connective tissue, and vertebrae, which can eventually contribute to spinal stenosis and other problems.

Avoid unhealthy habits like tobacco use, vaping, and excessive alcohol consumption. Protecting your overall health reduces your risk of a variety of health problems.

What if I already have back pain?

Even if you already have back pain, it doesn’t condemn you to a life of discomfort. We offer customized pain management services, including treatments like Superion® interspinous spacers and the mild® procedure, to create more space in your spine. 

We’re committed to helping you lead a pain-free life. Give our office a call or make an appointment online today to learn more about how we can help alleviate your back and neck pain and help you lead an active and healthy life. 

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