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Physical Rehabilitation for Cervical Stenosis

Physical Rehabilitation for Cervical Stenosis

The spinal cord contains a column of nerve tissues protected by a canal that goes from the base of the brain to your lower back.

Conditions that narrow the space in this tube, such as cervical spinal stenosis, pose the risk of the spinal cord becoming squeezed and can cause severe pain in your nervous system.


What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Cervical spinal stenosis occurs due to degenerative changes in the spinal canal. This is common in people above 50 years old. Aging may cause herniated disc or thickening of ligaments or soft tissues connecting the bones. The aging process can also result in cartilage damage and excessive bone growth, which could narrow the spinal canal. In rare cases, bone overgrowth causes a narrowed spinal canal since birth.


What are the Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

Several people who suffer from cervical spinal stenosis don't show symptoms unless their spinal column or nerves are squeezed. The most common symptoms of spinal stenosis usually develop slowly over a long period and include the following:

Pain, numbness, tingling, stiffness, or muscle weakness. Nerve pressure can cause mild to chronic neck pain that goes through the shoulders, upper back, and one or both arms. It also causes loss of feeling on the skin and weakness in the muscles supplied by the nerve. Most patients usually complain of their hands feeling numb, and they tend to be clumsy when writing or typing and easily lose their grip.

Balance and coordination issues. Spinal cord pressure can affect leg muscles and nerves when patients experience difficulty walking. Cervical spinal stenosis can be crippling if the spinal cord is seriously damaged.

Loss of bowel or bladder control. Mild pressure on the spinal cord urges you to urinate more often than usual, and you may strain during bowel movements. Incontinence or bladder dysfunction may occur in severe cases when a person lacks voluntary control over urination or defecation.


Cervical Stenosis Exercises

Do not wait for the symptoms to become severe before considering treatment. In mild cases of cervical spinal stenosis, anti-inflammatory medications, neck pain exercises, and physical therapy can often help manage the symptoms.

Cervical spinal stenosis exercises involve stretching and strengthening the muscles and bones of the neck. Your doctor or physical therapist can create a program with poses, stretches, and exercises specific to your needs.


Cervical Spinal Stenosis Exercises for Physical Rehabilitation

The exercises below can help improve your posture and maintain flexibility and strength of your upper back and neck, helping to relieve pressure and cervical stenosis symptoms.

Chin Tuck Exercise

This exercise helps strengthen the neck muscles.

  • Begin in a standing or seated position.
  • Align your chin, so it's parallel to the floor.
  • Put 2 fingers on your chin.
  • Tuck your chin and pull your head with the help of your fingers.
  • Hold this retracted position for 5-10 seconds.
  • Do 10 repetitions of this exercise.

Seated Shoulder Shrugs Exercise

This exercise helps strengthen your shoulder muscles and upper arms.

  • While seated, draw the shoulder blades together.
  • Keep this position for a few seconds, then return to the starting position.
  • Do 20 repetitions of this exercise.

Backward Shoulder Shrugs Exercise

  • Lift your shoulders toward your ears.
  • Roll back down to the starting position.
  • Do 10 repetitions of this exercise in 3 sets.

Scalene Stretch Exercise

This exercise stretches out your neck muscles and tendons and helps improve the neck's range of motion.

  • Sit with your back straightened in a chair.
  • Tuck your chin slightly towards your chest.
  • To stretch the right side of your neck, bend your head to the left.
  • Hold this position for 20 seconds, rest, then do the same for the other side.
  • Repeat 3-4 times.

While many cases of mild cervical spinal stenosis are managed through conservative treatment options such as ice, heat, NSAIDs, and stretching and strengthening, in some cases symptoms will continue to become worse. If you don't notice a rapid improvement in symptoms with at-home care, it’s important to seek medical advice to determine if you need spine surgery to improve your condition.

Cervical stenosis exercises

More About Cervical Spinal Stenosis

Cervical spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the cervical spine. When the spinal canal narrows, it can lead to compression of the spinal cord and associated blood vessels, leading to painful symptoms. Cervical stenosis can be either congenital or more often acquired from progressive disk degeneration as people age.

Cervical spinal canal stenosis is classified by location:

  • Central (involves the spinal cord)
  • Lateral (involves the nerve roots)


Benefits of Choosing Palm Wellness Center for your Physical Rehabilitation Sessions

The chiropractors and physiotherapists at Palm Wellness Center are able to catch early signs and symptoms of potential cervical stenosis by thoroughly reviewing your medical history and performing physical exams. If stenosis is suspected, your therapists may recommend getting a referral for an X-ray of the neck and spine to find out the exact cause of the symptoms. Meanwhile, if the symptoms are minimal, your therapists can perform a range of treatment techniques, including manual therapy, acupuncture, soft tissue release, and exercise rehabilitation to manage the symptoms.

Therapeutic exercises at Palm Wellness Center provide patients with a strong base to build up their rehabilitation. We help our patients to achieve better health and improve their physical condition. Here are the general benefits you may receive from our physical rehabilitation sessions:

  • Improve and restore physical function.
  • Prevent the loss of function.
  • Enhance a patient's functional capabilities.
  • Prevent and decrease impairment and disability.
  • Feel better and be more physically fit.


Final Thoughts

If you want to recover from lost function, or you want to stretch and strengthen the muscles and bones of the neck, then a physical rehabilitation program is for you. Our professional therapists at Palm Wellness Center will guide you through the proper and safe rehabilitation process to get your spinal stenosis treated. Schedule your appointment with your doctors at Palm Wellness Center at (813) 443-5370 or visit our website at www.palmwellness.center.

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