Spinal Stenosis Prevention

Exercise and Body Mechanics

Peer Reviewed

The most common cause of spinal stenosis in your neck or low back is aging. You obviously can’t prevent that, but spinal stenosis prevention is about practicing certain habits to improve and maintain your spine health. If you already have spinal stenosis, getting regular exercise and using proper body mechanics may help reduce the chances of your spinal stenosis from becoming worse.
Group of women stretching in exercise classIf you’re new to exercise, start slowly. Gradually build up your sessions until you feel comfortable.Exercise
Exercise, when done properly, is a fantastic way to strengthen your spine and protect it from the everyday effects of wear and tear. It also helps keep your body weight under control. And that’s important because having a healthy weight puts less pressure on your spine.

If you’re new to exercise, start slowly. Gradually build up your sessions until you feel comfortable. A general exercise guideline to shoot for is around 30 minutes on most days.
It’s best to combine aerobic activities (such as walking or swimming) with resistance training (such as yoga or weight lifting). Of course, stretching is an effective way to lengthen and warm up your spinal muscles.
If you want a great place to start, you can learn some basic back stretches and exercises in our video series on exercises for spinal stenosis.
Body Mechanics
Having good posture and practicing proper body mechanics are some of the best ways to prevent stenosis from progressing and to ensure the health of your back.
Good posture and body mechanics should be practiced all the time—whether you’re sitting, standing, lifting a heavy object, or even sleeping. Essentially, good body mechanics and posture are about keeping your spine in mind, even when you’re doing your regular activities.
Because aging is the primary cause of spinal stenosis, it’s hard to prevent. But that doesn’t mean you can’t be proactive about the health of your spine. Exercise and proper body mechanics may provide your back and neck a strong defense system against cervical or lumbar spinal stenosis that will serve you for years to come.
Updated on: 04/12/18
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Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Jason M. Highsmith, MD
This article was reviewed by Jason M. Highsmith, MD.
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