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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing (less than 11mm) of the spaces in the spinal column (called neural foramina). This narrowing often puts extreme pressure on the spinal cord. However, a person with spinal stenosis may or may not show any signs or symptoms for many years. The symptoms can be on one or both sides of the body. Because the symptoms vary so much and are largely dependant on a person's pain threshold, they may begin to initially present with small amounts of pain that a person would normally brush off as common back pain, and treat with anti-inflammatories.

After days/weeks/months pass, and as the narrowing between the spaces of the spine becomes more confined as a result of the aging process and daily activities, pain may increase due to irritation or inflammation of the nerves and can result in a person experiencing stenosis symptoms when standing or walking. Spinal Stenosis can also be caused by arthritis, bone disease, spinal defects, injuries, trauma and herniated or slipped discs in the spine.

This disorder is most common in men and women over 50 years of age. However, it may occur in younger people who are born with a narrowing of the spinal canal or who suffer an injury to the spine. Spinal stenosis can occur in any of the regions in the spine. 'Cervical Spinal Stenosis', occurs in the neck area and may lead to serious symptoms such as major body weakness and paralysis. Cervical stenosis pain can affect the neck, arms or hands as well as hand coordination. 'Lumbar Spinal Stenosis' occurs in the lower back region with pain that comes and goes and accounts for approximately 75% of cases of spinal stenosis.

Lumbar spinal stenosis pain can radiate from the lower back to the buttocks, leg and/or foot of the affected side of the body, as well as affect a person's balance and ability to walk. When this happens, it is commonly called sciatica with the associated symptoms of tingling, weakness and numbness. Another form of stenosis, called 'Thoracic Spinal Stenosis' is much less common and occurs in the mid area of the back. Pain radiating from spinal stenosis affects many other areas of the body. Which areas will be affected is largely dependant on where the spinal stenosis has presented. The symptoms you would usually feel if you have spinal stenosis includes leg pain, numbness and pain or weakness in the back, buttocks, thighs or calves. Discomfort above and below the knee is also commonly felt. Symptoms can also be felt in the neck, shoulders and arms and often gets progressively worse over time.

The symptoms will be felt most when you stand and walk but are often instantly relieved when you sit down, lean forward or ride a bicycle. An older person leaning over the handle of their shopping cart while making short stumbling steps often has spinal stenosis. In order to alleviate the pain associated with spinal stenosis try bending over slightly when walking, leaning on a walker or shopping cart instead of walking upright, stationary biking (leaning forward on the handlebars) instead of walking for exercise and sitting in a recliner instead of on a straight-back chair.

It is very important for spinal stenosis sufferers to stay as active as they possibly can in so as not to become even more debilitated from inactivity, therefore an appropriate activity program and targeted physical therapy is a key part of any treatment program. Although epidural steroids have been used for stenosis, their success rate has proven low. Physical therapy with traction and strengthening exercises certainly helps relieve symptoms. Decompression and inversion tables have been used with great initial success and varying amounts of lasting benefit according to Swezey RL, Swezey AM and Warner K in their publication entitled "Efficacy of home cervical traction therapy". The Bioflex inversion machine found on this site offers an extra benefit to other machines in that it allows for effective strengthening exercises to the core which can help strengthen against the symptoms of spinal stenosis.


"Hi Steve,
Thank you for all the help you have given through your emails. I actually live in England but saw your site on how to help sciatica, so thought I would give the instant relief a go as I had been unable to relieve the pain any other way. I was having chiropractic help but did as you suggested with the balls and I found great relief from doing this exercise, it really does work!! Luckily my back has returned to normal now but I continue to work with the balls, so thank you again for the great help, so simple yet effective.
Regards "

Chery Murphy

"Hi Steve ,
The book and DVD have arrived and I have tried the exercises for 2 days only and not fully at that .While I am not wanting to get carried away ,some of my worst pain has gone today and I have been suffering for more than a year and paid out hundreds of dollars on treatment .If only this can continue !! "

Don Pearce

Dear Steve,
"Thank you for your continuing advice which I have been reading in small bits. My self treatment has been successful so far with encouraging information from your video At the moment I am doing well and my sciatica has gone Just for your information...... I am nearly 83yrs....Had 2 hip replacements between 2005/6."

Jean Angus

Dear Steve,
"I have been following you advice and getting great results.... The double tennis ball and roller have been very beneficial in the treatment and I an doing well. Thank you for your help."

Cheers, David Peel Moorooka QLD

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Sciatica pain, back pain sydney

About Us is a site created to inform people who suffer from sciatica and back pain about the real cause of their problem and the options available for their successful treatment

All of the information has been written by Steve Lockhart, the creator of the SLM Bodywork treatment method and a successful therapist with over 20 years practical experience at fixing all types of chronic pain.

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