Physical Therapy for Spinal Stenosis Series (Part 2)
What are the signs and symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
Patients seen in physical therapy who are diagnosed with spinal stenosis have a wide variety of symptoms. Spinal stenosis may cause symptoms such as:
- Pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms and shoulders, legs, or trunk.
- Occasional problems with bowel or bladder function
- Loss of balance and instability
If you have spinal stenosis in the neck (cervical spinal stenosis), you may have weakness, numbness, and pain in one or both arms and often in the legs, depending on which nerves are affected. You may or may not have pain in the neck itself. In the most severe cases of cervical spinal stenosis these complaints can even involve the torso and legs as well.
If you have spinal stenosis in the low back (lumbar spinal stenosis), you may have pain, numbness, and weakness in the low back and one or both legs, but not in the arms.
In physical therapy, patients diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis will commonly report that their symptoms may get worse with walking and improve with sitting. Walking is commonly more comfortable when assisted by a shopping cart or use of a walker. Standing is commonly painful but can be relieved when resting upon their forearms when at a counter top or table.
Those seen in physical therapy for cervical stenosis will report that looking upward or even bending their head and neck to the side of greatest pain can be aggravating. Symptoms can be relieved when resting their head and neck in to forward bent positions or when side bending away from their more sensitive side.
If you think that you may need physical therapy to address your spinal stenosis contact the PT’s at Buffalo Back and Neck Physical Therapy. We are the area’s leading experts in the treatment of back and neck pain.