|Your spine has many moving parts and it is critical you keep the area strong and flexible.|
Age is the main culprit and there is no prevention that is 100 per cent effective, however, you can help reduce those chances of developing or reducing the symptoms of spinal stenosis.
And we as age, defiant warriors are looking for all the ammunition we can find in our tool box to either slow down this crippling diagnoses or prevent it altogether if we can. Don't get me wrong, not all of us are destined to be affected by it, however, we all will see changes take place in our backs just by living into those senior years. We can fight like hell however and become proactive today by working on several key components that can reduce the percentages immensely.
1. Strength Training: I am a big advocate of strength training as we age and the sooner you get on the bandwagon and understand your age defiance starts with building and maintaining a strong back the better. Two exercises I use during my back training are hyperextensions and dumbbell dead lifts though dumbbell dead lifts do work more of your glute or butt muscles and hips than lower back, it does get some carry over work.
Both these movements along with others, help strengthen your spinal erectors and give the muscles the ability to maintain structural integrity in your low back and beyond. It is also important to keep your core muscles strong with various core exercises as well. Planks and crunches are just two simple exercises that you can do at home to keep the area strong.
2. Maintain Proper Posture: Maintaining your posture and using good form when lifting will also reduce those chances of accelerating this back problem that can become chronic if neglected.
Take the time to work on back flexibility by stretching your shoulders back and working on extensions exercises like the pike stretch. Stretching is a critical part of maintaining a healthy back and that also promotes good posture.
3. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight: As we age, many seniors think it is quite normal to put on unwanted pounds. Again there is nothing further from the truth. The increase in body weight is a combination of lack of exercise, aerobic and resistance training combined with poor dietary habits.
The added weight does nothing but add additional stress to our lower back by increasing the abdominal girth along with lack of additional strength in their core or trunk muscles to support it.
It's no secret that additional pounds just plays havoc on our entire health, by staying pro active you prevent some of these common back problems from developing in the first place.
So the take home message here is to keep your back and trunk muscles strong through a well planned and executed strengthening and flexibility program, keep your weight in check and, be aware of your posture and lifting techniques to prevent disc herniation and other injuries that lead to arthritic changes in the spine as well.
I can tell you many of the patients I see on a day to day basis develop back problems due to lack of physical activity and general weakness and over all physical as well as mental decline. On top of that, they are convinced that they are " too old" or " what's the use it's just a part of getting old" when it comes to trying to do something to decrease the symptoms of spinal stenosis. In other words, they gave up on themselves years ago and cannot understand now "what happened"?
Being an Age Defiant Warrior means you refuse to fall into the above category. You may not be able to fully prevent spinal stenosis however, you will fight like hell to do you part right now so that you do not end up as another casualty due to neglect and indifference when it comes to your spinal health and mobility.
I have provided a book written by a fellow PT who can help you in strengthening your back and help in possibly decreasing the symptoms by following the home exercise program provided along with educational information to help you understand the causes and how you can confront spinal stenosis.
Richard Haynes PTA, CPT