By Dr. Rick Morris
It’s not an exaggeration to say that I thought I would be wheelchair bound and would never be back on my feet the rest of my life. The pain in my right leg was that severe… When I walked a little, the pain in the back of my thigh down to the outside of my right calf to ankle got so severe, I had to stop, sit down, and wait until the pain subsided. The distance between the rests got shorter and shorter to finally down to 10 steps…. He (Dr. Morris) gave me a through examination, asked me a hundred questions, and instructed me to have an MRI taken to confirm his diagnosis. MRI confirmed my condition (Spinal Stenosis)…. A little over 3 months later, I’m writing this to let the world know that my pain level is a humble 1 out of 10! (10 is the most severe) When I first met Dr. Morris, my pain level was easily over 8.
…I can walk with my friends in a shopping mall, do grocery shopping, and will be back in my dance class soon. I’m on a daily exercise program to keep my back correct and strong. All these were unimaginable 3 months ago. If anyone is in the same condition as I was then, I know how it feels and I am very fortunate that I met Dr. Morris and his great team of professionals… Thank you and hope there will be more patients like myself who find you and your incredible practice.
Yuriko Imashuku, Language Instructor
Editor’s Note: Yuriko has been with little or no pain for over 2 years and is back to all her normal activities. Spinal Stenosis is a narrowing of the canal, which houses your spinal cord and nerves. It causes pain, numbness and muscle weakness to your arms and/or legs. Although, the problem may start gradually, it nearly always increases in severity. The effect can be crippling as walking, standing and even using your arms are become a challenge.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
It can be caused in several ways:
- Arthritic spurs that grow into the canal.
- Ligaments that thicken within the canal.
- Spinal misalignments that narrow the canal by making it more twisted.
- Discs that herniate or bulge into the canal.
- Degenerated discs that shorten the length of the canal.
- Spinal fractures which cause abrupt angulations within the canal.
- Canals that are congenitally narrowed from birth.
The list goes on, but the results are the same—the spinal canal is narrowed, compressing the spinal cord and the nerves within it. It should be obvious; the best solution for your Spinal Stenosis depends on its cause. Unfortunately, most doctors treat it as if the cause was irrelevant. Their solutions are usually the same for all--pain management (with medications and injections) eventually followed by surgery. In fact, the disease is considered “progressive”; meaning it’s expected to worsen, often crippling those suffering from it. We are probably the leading Spinal Stenosis center in the country and have a four-year study that disproves the “progressive” prognosis. Over 80% of our patients with severe Spinal Stenosis of many years, significantly improved and have maintained their improvement throughout our four years follow-up.
What Are The Six Things I Can Do Now To Help My Spinal Stenosis?
- First, and most importantly--find the cause of your Spinal Stenosis and develop a specific treatment program for your condition.
- Lose weight (providing you’re carrying over 10 extra pounds). The extra weight squeezes your spinal canal together.
- Avoid high and medium heels. The higher your heels, the more your back will arch, causing greater spinal compression.
- Maintain a posture that reduces the curves in your back. Do this by tilting your lower pelvis forward and lifting up from the lower part of your chest.
- Avoid exercises that arch or compress your back, such as the Cobra, lifting weight over your head and running.
- Perform exercises that strengthen your abdomen (especially your lower abdomen), stretch and round your lower back and reverse the effects of gravity.
The Five Daily Exercises That Help Spinal Stenosis
In most cases, Spinal Stenosis can improve significantly! Do not accept the advice from your doctor if he suggests that medications, injections and surgery are your best options. In most cases, they are not.
These exercises and postures are definitely not complete and should be done, only, if first OK’d by your doctor.
Click here to read about Research Performed at The Spinal Stenosis and Disc Center For The Non-Surgical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis
If you’ve been given this diagnosis or believe you may have this condition, you need to see us. We lead the medical community in non-surgical answers for Spinal Stenosis.