Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces in the spine where the spinal cord and nerve roots transverse. The narrowing of these passageways results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots that exit the spine creating pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. The spinal passageways can be further closed off due to inflammation that arises after these tissues become irritated. Central stenosis is narrowing of the central cannal where the spinal cord travels. Lateral stenosis is the narrowing of the openings between vertebrae where the nerve roots exit the spine.
For central stenosis, backbends can close off the spinal canal and must be approached with caution, backing off if symptoms are reproduced. Forward bends open the canal diameter and will help to reduce symptoms. For lateral stenosis, side bending and twisting away from the painful side will open up the spaces between the vertebrae to reduce pressure on the nerve roots and alleviate symptoms. For both types of stenosis, practice inversions to reduce inflammation and use poses that emphasize good posture and lengthen the spine.
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