Your spinal cord functions like a thick, long electrical cable that transports chemical messengers back and forth between the brain and body. It is protected and covered by the spinal column, a protective layer of bone extending from the skull to the pelvic bones. There is a space in your backbone. Gradually it can get narrow, leading to Georgetown spinal stenosis. The narrowing of the vertebral canal will exert pressure or strain on the spinal cord or its delicate nerves. As a result, you are likely to experience muscle weakness, pain, discomfort, tingling, and numbness.
Spinal stenosis 101
You may be born with a narrow spinal canal. However, most cases of spinal stenosis result from bone overgrowth, bulging disks, tumors, thickened ligaments, and spinal injuries or fractures.
For instance, an injury caused by a car accident or a dangerous fall can break the bones of your spine or misalign them. Moreover, your spinal column has ligaments holding its bones together. These bones can become thick and stiff gradually and thus bulge into your spinal canal.
Because spinal canal narrowing for a long time can lead to long-lasting paralysis and numbness in your arms and legs, you should go for treatment immediately. Even more importantly, put more effort into preventing spinal stenosis.
Subsequently, below are tips that can help protect you against spinal stenosis.
- Stay physically active
Regularly engaging in physical activity or exercise can help reduce the strain exposed to spinal bones, nerves, and the spinal cord. Exercising makes your bones more flexible and enhances your mobility.
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to you being overweight or obese. The extra body weight will strain your spine and promote wear and tear of the vertebrae, which can contribute to spinal narrowing.
- Maintain good posture
Poor posture strains the facet joints and discs of the spinal column. That can lead to degenerative spinal disc disease that causes spinal narrowing.
You are at increased risk of spinal stenosis if you do construction and factory work. Also, office workers and drivers are susceptible to spinal stenosis because they often sit for an extended time.
If your job involves a lot of sitting, such as when operating a computer, find time to get up, stretch, or walk around regularly.
Exercising and adopting poor posture correction measures can assist you in standing or sitting without risking the health of your spinal column.
- Avoid smoking
As per the National Institutes of Health’s studies, there is a strong link between spinal stenosis and regular smoking.
If you smoke, harmful chemicals enter your bloodstream and interfere with your intervertebral discs. Nicotine, tar, and other chemicals in tobacco or cigarette smoke can increase your pain sensitivity and promote the weakening of vertebral discs.
Smoking can inflame blood vessels and nerves to decrease blood flow and limit the transportation of chemical messengers in the body. As a result, the intervertebral discs do not receive sufficient nutrients.
Dangerous chemicals from smoking also affect collagen production. Collagen is a vital protein that significantly contributes to intervertebral discs’ formation.
Contact Republic Spine and Pain today to schedule a consultation with a spinal stenosis specialist to learn more about pain relief options.