Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a condition where the openings in your spine narrow creating less space for the nerves to pass through, putting pressure on that nerve and resulting in pain, tingling or numbness. Often times the pain radiates away through the impacted nerve and down the legs.
To better understand what is happening, take your hands and interlock your fingers. The small openings in between would be where the nerves pass through. If you press your hands together - as happens to your vertebrae as you age or if you suffer injury, pressure is placed on major nerves. The condition is most common among people over 50.
This is a serious condition best diagnosed by a physician with the use of an MRI. Treatments include physical therapy to strengthen the region and improve flexibility, medications that reduce inflammation and surgery.
Our Fitness For Life philosophy calls for core strength as a cornerstone of everything that we do, and this is especially true for those suffering from lumbar stenosis. A stronger core means a more stable spine and less pressure on the joints where the nerves pass through. Stretching can also bring relief, like the lower back stretches Hussain demonstrates in this video. Note that the physiology of these stretches result in opening up your lower back, like pulling your interlocking fingers apart in the above analogy.
Sitting often brings relief as doing a pelvic tilt and putting your spine into flexion open up the gaps that nerves pass through. But if you suffer from stenosis, don't make the mistake of becoming sedentary as that will only lead to further deterioration. Stay active to keep up core strength and keep blood flowing to the impacted area. Biking, even riding a stationary bike in the gym, can be a great activity as it keeps you in a comfortably flexed position.