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Back pain relieved in sitting?
Do you have low back pain after just a few minutes of walking or standing? Do you get relief from your back pain as soon as you sit? Do you have less pain if you lean forward when you walk? Are you able to walk a longer distance with less pain if you hold on to a shopping cart or walker? If you answered "yes" to these questions you may be suffering from spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis typically affects older adults because as we age there is a narrowing where the nerve exits the spinal column, which causes pain.
There are certain exercises that a physical therapist can show you to help relieve this pain when standing or walking. Exercises that change the position of the spine will actually help open up the spinal column and relieve pain, but these exercises must be done correctly. Strengthening the core and the muscles on either side of the spine will also help improve your ability to stand and walk for longer periods of time.
As a physical therapist, I treat many older adults with spinal stenosis and they typically have very poor posture. The head and shoulders come forward and the spine starts to round forward as well. This type of posture is difficult to correct and can be dangerous for your balance because it can cause you to fall forward. Spinal stenosis can be painful but also cause other problems like poor posture, balance loss, and muscle weakness.
See a physical therapist if you are limited in walking and standing because of pain and learn how to manage your pain with simple exercises.
Contributed by Krista Magnoli, PTA and Nancy Whelan, PT @ The Physical Therapy Center in West Palm Beach, FLorida.