Spinal Stenosis

Editor: Dr. Amy Spencer, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, CSCS, CKTP - A Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy and Certified Manual Therapist. Owner and Physical Therapist, Specialized Physical Therapy in North Reading, MA.

Spinal stenosis is the constricting or narrowing of the spinal canal. It occurs in the spinal column where the spinal cord, nerve roots, and vertebrae are located.Specialized Physical Therapy Spinal Stenosis

Causes of Spinal Stenosis:

There are a wide variety of conditions that can result in the narrowing of your spinal canal, some of which are inherited and others are acquired. Spinal stenosis is most often caused from arthritis of the spine, since the arthritis increases the normal wear-and-tear of the spine, which leads to nerve compression.

Acquired conditions that can lead to spinal stenosis include spinal or rheumatoid arthritis, spinal tumors, Paget’s disease, and any traumatic damage to the vertebral column. Inherited conditions that may result in spinal stenosis are congenital spinal stenosis and scoliosis.

Spinal arthritis causes the formation of bone spurs, calcification of spinal ligaments, thickening of joint tissue due to chronic inflammation, and degeneration of the spinal disc. All of these symptoms of spinal arthritis will constrict the space around the nerves, which eventually leads to nerve compression.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis:

Many patients show evidence of spinal stenosis on their x-rays without having any signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they usually start slowly and gradually worsen over time. Your symptoms will vary depending on the location of the stenosis:

  • In the neck: Narrowing in the upper (cervical) spine can cause numbness, weakness, or tingling in your leg, foot, arm or hand. In severe cases, nerves to the bladder or bowel may also be affected and result in incontinence.
  • In the lower back: Compressed nerves in your lower (lumbar) spine can cause pain or cramping in your legs when you walk or stand for long periods of time. The discomfort usually eases when you bend forward or sit down.

Treatment of Spinal Stenosis:

Physical therapy will be beneficial for patients that suffer from spinal stenosis.

Specialized Physical Therapy can help you treat spinal stenosis by:

  • Building your strength and endurance using tailored exercises
  • Regain and maintain the flexibility of your spine using manual therapy
  • Strengthen abdominal and back muscles to help stabilize the spine
  • Use physical therapy and stretching to improve your balance

Manual physical therapy can be used to reduce muscle tightness or spasms in the back or buttock regions. Using modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and ice may also be helpful in reducing pain and inflammation.

SPT is just minutes from Andover, Reading, North Andover, and Wilmington MA

Specialized Physical Therapy is conveniently located in North Reading and also proudly serves residents in Andover, Reading, North Andover, Wilmington, Boxford, Burlington, Woburn, Stoneham, and Methuen.  We offer free and spacious parking located within a few steps away from our clinic’s door.


Schedule Your Appointment Today to Regain Freer Movement and Healthy Living!

Specialized Physical Therapy practices a comprehensive approach to total muscle, joint, and spine health. We are the preferred physical therapy clinic in Greater Boston, because we offer an extensive range of physical therapy services designed to restore your physical strength and mobility while reducing your pain. Our physical therapy clinic sets itself apart by:

  • Providing proven techniques for alleviating minor, major, acute, and chronic pain.
  • Specializing in sports medicine, manual therapy, post-surgical care, auto accidents, prenatal and postpartum conditions, orthopedic injuries and overuse injuries.
  • Maintaining a clean, comfortable, private and quiet clinic, making it ideal for private consulting, educating and performing the latest physical therapy techniques.
  • Focusing on your individual needs, not the bottom line, because we are a small, physical therapist-owned and family-oriented clinic.
  • Treating one patient at a time in our private treatment room to make sure that you get the personalized care and attention you need.
  • Completing your treatment from start to finish with only exceptional doctorate trained and fully licensed Massachusetts physical therapists that have excellent skills, breadth of knowledge, and invaluable experience to help you reach your goals and succeed.


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