Navigating the Ins and Outs of Spinal Stenosis
By Dr. Molly Casey
Taking care of one’s spine isn’t a common topic that folks are taught as kids or as adults. You’re here reading this because at some level you’re looking to take better care of your spine and overall health. Pain is often the indicator that points people in the direction of letting them know something isn’t quite right. A scary diagnosis from a variety of health professionals is often the motivator to truly investigating and understanding the issue and options to better care for your spine. Today we’ll go over one such diagnosis, spinal stenosis.
Your brain sends messages down the spinal cord. The messages that the brain sends down the cord then veer into individual nerves that carry the information to the intended cells, glands, organs, structures, etc. The spinal cord is housed and protected by your spinal column (26 moveable bones); there are small holes down the center of these bones that form the spinal canal. The individual nerves come off the spinal cord and travel through a small hole exiting the spine called the intervertebral foramen.
So what is spinal stenosis? Simply put, it is a narrowing of the spinal canal through which the spinal cord travels. The narrowing occurs because of bone growth that has encroached upon the spinal canal space.
A healthy body is breaking down and replacing bone at a consistent rate. This is a normal process, and how well it occurs is dependent upon a number of factors that include proper nutrition, hydration, and biomechanics (proper movement). When these factors aren’t present in the proper proportions (you aren’t caring for yourself very well) the process is skewed and the body attempts to lay down bone in areas that would not otherwise be laid down, often in an attempt to stabilize the spine and its movement. It’s actually brilliant, the body’s response. However, for every cause there is an effect. And the effect is a narrowing of the space through which your communication system functions. When you narrow that canal you limit your body’s ability to function optimally and eventually you’re going to have pain.
With this condition it can be a lot of pain.
Can Chiropractic Help
Spinal stenosis is a degenerative process. If you continue with doing life as you’ve done it up to the point of your diagnosis, it will likely get worse. There are options and opportunities to change though, so fear not.
First things first, know that because bone is laid down, the process can’t be reversed. However, it is possible to slow the process or prevent it from getting worse. One of the best ways is through the use of chiropractic care along with other behavioral and habit changes.
Chiropractic focuses on proper nervous system communication through making sure the spine is moving as well as possible and is as healthy as possible. Chiropractic adjustments help restore motion in spinal joints and create as much space as possible for the nervous system to perform its functions with the least amount of interference. When the spine is moving properly, the distribution of weight and the physics of how the spine moves also improves. These will help the process of breaking down and helping the bone to return to normal. In addition, with regular adjustments, patients commonly state it’s easier to move properly and also to hold better posture for longer periods of time. This improved biomechanical positioning assists in proper weight distribution and, ultimately, positively affects spinal function. Your chiropractor can also recommend helpful stretches and exercises, as well as natural supplements to decrease pain and increase spinal joint function.
So yes, chiropractic can help with spinal stenosis. Get into your local The Joint Chiropractic to see if you’re a good candidate for a healthier spine!
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