What is Stenosis?
Generally speaking, stenosis is a narrowing. This narrowing can be of different blood vessels, esophagus, intestines, etc. When the disease affects the spine, we talk about spinal stenosis. It narrows the spinal canal, which risks being damaged by compression.
Narrowing of the openings for the nerve roots coming from the spinal cord to the relevant organs can also occur. These tubules are called intervertebral, and this type of stenosis is foraminal.
Both spinal and foraminal stenosis involve compression of the nerve roots. Narrowing of the intervertebral canals is relatively rare and is generally due to herniations of the discs between the vertebrae.
Stenosis can be of two types. It is central when the spinal canal changes its structure. The lateral form of stenosis can be in three zones – at the entrance, in the middle, or in the intervertebral foramen.
Spinal stenosis usually occurs in the lumbar region. This leads to pain in the lower back and, when walking, in the legs, which can even block movement.
The disease usually occurs in people over the age of 50, who often end up with arthritis. However, it can also occur in younger people suffering from spinal deformities.
If not congenital, stenosis is usually caused by age-related structural changes in the spine. These changes can affect both the vertebrae and the discs between them.
With age, the vertebrae and discs wear out, lose their original qualities and this facilitates their deformities. This wear is among the most common age-related injuries of the spine. Compression is often caused by slipping of adjacent vertebrae, which compresses a nerve.
If timely treatment of stenosis is not applied, it can progress and lead to great pain and complications – even to paralysis of the legs, problems with the bladder and the activity of the intestines and the genital system.
Spinal stenosis – symptoms and diagnosis
There are three areas of the spine where spinal stenosis can occur. The spinal cord or nerve roots can be compressed in the neck, chest, or lumbar region.
The symptoms are similar and affect the back, waist, arms, and legs. The most obvious symptom of cervical spinal stenosis is numbness of the fingers. However, it can also affect the legs, which is characteristic of lumbar stenosis.
In general, a person begins to feel weak, the muscles of the arms or legs “do not hold”. Tingling, numbness, loss of sensation, and stiffness begin. This is because nerves connected to the senses and muscles are affected.
People who develop spinal stenosis become clumsy, fall more often, and often have hot flashes on their feet. Pain begins to occur when walking, which increases with exercise or bending backwards. They subside at rest, whether in a sitting position or other frozen postures, or when leaning forward.
Diagnosis of stenosis
For the effective treatment of stenosis, an accurate diagnosis must be made, because often the symptoms are caused by other diseases.
Magnetic resonance imaging is the safest of the imaging studies that are the basis for the treatment of stenosis. This is a method of imaging different parts of the body and organs to see their condition – skeleton, spine, nerves, brain, joints, muscles, soft tissues, etc.
A magnetic field generated by radio waves is used. According to the purpose of the study, it lasts between 15 and 45 minutes, with the patient lying on a table, which slides into the scanner and the procedure begins.
Computed tomography is also a good method. It makes a three-dimensional computer image of the organs, obtained by processing multiple X-rays from different angles.
Another commonly used method is myelogram. It injects a contrast agent into the spinal canal, which helps to see the spinal cord as well as the nerve roots in the spinal cord more clearly in an X-ray.
Treatment of stenosis
When starting treatment for stenosis, the patient can choose from fundamentally different medical systems. One is allopathic, the other is homeopathic or alternative medicine.
Allopathic medicine includes conservative and surgical treatment of stenosis. Alternative Indian medicine (Ayurveda) applies homeopathic / natural / healing products and therapies with herbs, oils, and decoctions. Both yoga exercises and poses can be used, as well.
Conservative treatment of stenosis uses anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs, as well as physiotherapy and massage. In physiotherapy, an individual program of training exercises is selected, with the aim of controlling the patient’s manifestations of the disease.
This is done by finding the optimal posture to relieve pain when moving with as little strain on the spine as possible. These exercises also strengthen the muscles of the back, neck, and arms.
Hormonal effects are also applied whereby hormones are introduced into the spinal canal, which reduce swelling and pain. However, the effect of this method is slow – it can appear after a month, and is successful in about half of patients.
Surgical treatment of stenosis is started if conservative treatment has not achieved the desired effect and the injuries and pain increase.
For the treatment of stenosis, Indian medicine (Ayurveda) applies heat and steam therapies with oils and herbs, laxatives, specialized massages with rubbing herbs and warm oils in the affected area, internal use of healing oils, and more.
With Yoga, treatment of stenosis is carried out through specialized exercises and postures that slow down the structural changes in the spine, increase flexibility and strength and help decompress the pinched nerve. There are specialized yoga poses and exercises for pain in the neck, chest, and lumbar spine where the stenosis occurs.
Experts advise patients to be careful in exercises and postures that include bending and twisting, as well as to avoid forceful movements.
Treatment of stenosis with inversion tables
Inversion tables are very suitable in the treatment of stenosis. They are at-home fitness equipment that are compact and easy to install.
Their effect is fast – even just 7 minutes a day gives results and you feel the difference. They can be used by people of all weights and heights.
They are generally for people with a height of 1.46 to 2 meters and up to 135 kilograms, but devices for larger sizes can also be provided.
The purpose of an inversion table is to release tension from the spine. It not only “carries” our body, but resists and overcomes the earth’s gravity, allowing us to stand up.
Under normal conditions, the spine is under almost constant pressure and tension, because of which the vertebrae and discs are compressed. Their friction leads to wear and loss of their original properties.
Inversion tables allow “reverse traction”, which results in decompression of the spine. Relieved tension has a beneficial effect on the relaxation of the compressed nerve, and helps to restore the vertebrae and discs.
In the case of inversion tables, you lie upside down at an angle of different degrees including, if you wish, turning your body upside down.
Of course, before using the inversion tables, you should consult your doctor if you have any diseases that are contraindicated for hanging upside down.
Although you don’t have to hang upside down. The relief effect of the spine begins at an inclination of 20 degrees, and at 60 there is already a complete decompression.
Turning 90 degrees is a matter of preference. And by the way, most inversion tables customers prefer it because of the freedom of movement that is obtained.
Inversion tables have an overall beneficial health effect, because they can be used for more active exercises – standing, abdominal presses and more which strengthen the abdominal and back muscles.