man and woman with spinal stenosis stretching their backs

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is caused by narrowing one or more areas in the spine. It can cause pain, numbness, and discomfort that can affect multiple body parts.

Physical therapy for spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is narrowing one or more areas in your spine, most often in your neck or lower back. Spinal stenosis can cause varying symptoms, including but not limited to: pain or numbness in your legs, back, neck, shoulder, or arms; limb weakness and incoordination; change of sensation in your arms/legs, and problems with bladder or bowel function.

Causes of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis has multiple causes, including:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Achondroplasia (dwarfism)
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spinal tumors
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Spinal injuries
  • Paget’s disease of the bone
woman stretching her arm with physical therapist

Spinal stenosis symptoms

Patients suffering from spinal stenosis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain or numbness in your legs, back, neck, shoulder, or arms
  • Limb weakness and incoordinationChange of sensation in your arms, legs or feet
young woman balancing on exercise ball

How we treat spinal stenosis

If it is determined that physical therapy is a viable conservative treatment or post-surgery option, your treatment for spinal stenosis may include:

  • Core and spinal stability exercises
  • Strength training
  • Flexibility work for the spine and extremities
  • Balance training
  • Dry needling
  • Manual therapy
  • McKenzie Method
  • Home exercise program
  • Cardiovascular exercise to increase activity
  • Pain control through modalities like ultrasound, electrical stimulation, heat and ice, massage, and spinal traction

Spinal stenosis resources

5 Simple Ways to Check for Scoliosis
Spinal Stenosis

5 Simple Ways to Check for Scoliosis

By Elizabeth Williams, PT, DPT, Wilmington OH Center Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine that is most common in younger years, prior to puberty....

Newsletter: How PT Can Help with Chronic Back Pain
Spinal Stenosis

5 tips for living with lumbar spinal stenosis

By: Mark Blazek, Columbia Center Do you find yourself experiencing lower back or leg pain when walking or standing up tall? Does your back pain...

What Are the Final Stages of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis

What Are the Final Stages of Spinal Stenosis?

As we age, it is common to experience changes in the spine due to wear and tear. Damage can also occur due to injuries, systemic...

what does cryotherapy do

Beginners Guide to Cold Therapy: What Does Cryotherapy Do?

Cold therapy, also known as cryotherapy, is a technique that exposes the body to extreme cold temperatures to achieve certain health benefits. While cryotherapy as...

What to expect

Your first physical therapy appointment is about creating a personalized treatment plan based on your health history, diagnosis, and goals. Here’s what you can expect at your first physical therapy appointment:

Your first appointment will last about an hour. Please arrive 15 minutes early.

If applicable, bring your physician referral or prescription, insurance card, paperwork, ID, and co-payment.

At your appointment, we’ll do an initial evaluation and discuss your care plan.

*Services are not available at every location. Visit our Locations page for more details.