8 Effective Natural Cures for Spinal Stenosis: Non-Surgical Relief Strategies to Alleviate Pain18 July 2023
- Spinal stenosis is medically defined as a condition where the space around the spinal cord is narrowed, causing pain in the lower back and legs. This condition can be caused by ageing or other ailments like arthritis, bone spurs, or tumours.
- Treatment of the condition often involves pain medications, physical therapy, and surgery. However, natural options can also help alleviate pain and reduce pressure on the spinal cord.
- Physical therapy, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy are alternative cures that can help alleviate pain symptoms.
- Medical cannabis is another option that can relieve pain and other symptoms. The active compounds in cannabis have been shown to be effective at treating several conditions, including nerve pain, muscle spasms, and inflammation.
- Before starting any treatment for spinal stenosis, it’s important to talk to your doctor about how it may affect your health.
Imagine waking each day to persistent aches, stiffness, and weakness in your back and limbs. For the thousands of people in the UK suffering from spinal stenosis, this is an all-too-familiar reality.
Spinal stenosis is medically defined as a condition where the spaces within the spine become narrow and exert pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. This pressure increase can lead to many symptoms, including pain, discomfort, numbness, and weakness in the back and extremities.
Traditional treatments like medication and surgery often provide relief. However, many individuals are exploring natural remedies to alleviate their discomfort. Another added benefit of spinal stenosis home remedies lies in their potential to improve one’s overall quality of life.
This blog will review some of the most effective natural remedies for spinal stenosis. These include alternative therapies and herbal options that can make a significant difference in managing this challenging condition.
As we delve into these natural remedies, we’re excited to introduce Lyphe. As the leading medical cannabis clinic in the UK, Lyphe provides patients access to alternative therapies that can help manage pain and other symptoms associated with spinal stenosis. To learn more about how we can help, book a call today!
Understanding Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options
Spinal stenosis is a complex and often debilitating condition affecting thousands worldwide. To better manage this condition and seek appropriate treatments, it is essential to understand its causes, diagnosis, and current treatment options.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
As mentioned earlier, spinal stenosis is a medical condition characterised by the narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the spinal cord and the nerve roots that branch out from it.
This pressure can lead to various symptoms, including pain, numbness, weakness in the back and limbs, and difficulties with balance and coordination. The condition commonly affects the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) regions of the spine.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Several factors can contribute to the development of spinal stenosis, including:
- Age: As we age, our spine undergoes natural wear and tear, which can lead to the degeneration of the spinal discs, the thickening of ligaments, and the formation of bone spurs, all of which can contribute to the condition.
- Osteoarthritis: This degenerative joint disease can cause the breakdown of cartilage in the spine, leading to the formation of bone spurs and the narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Heredity: Some individuals may be born with a naturally narrow spinal canal or inherit a predisposition to developing spinal stenosis.
- Injuries and Trauma: Accidents or injuries to the spine can cause fractures or dislocations that may result in spinal canal narrowing.
- Tumours: Abnormal growths within the spinal canal can compress the spinal cord and nerve roots, leading to spinal stenosis.
Diagnosing spinal stenosis typically involves a combination of physical examination, medical history evaluation, and imaging tests. During the physical examination, a healthcare professional will assess your range of motion, reflexes, and strength, checking for any signs of nerve root compression.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT) scans, can help visualise the spine and identify any areas of narrowing or other abnormalities.
Several treatment options are available, ranging from conservative measures to surgical interventions. The choice of treatment depends on the severity of the condition and the needs of the individual.
Some of the most prominent treatment options include:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), can help alleviate pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, prescription medications, such as muscle relaxants, opioids, or corticosteroid injections, may be recommended.
- Surgery: In cases where conservative treatments have not provided sufficient relief, surgical intervention may be considered. Surgical options include decompression procedures (such as laminectomy or foraminotomy) and spinal fusion.
Eight Natural Treatments for Spinal Stenosis
For those seeking holistic approaches to managing spinal stenosis, natural treatments can provide a valuable complement or alternative to traditional medical interventions. By incorporating these natural treatments into your daily routine, you can take control of your spinal health and work towards better outcomes.
1. Medical Cannabis
As the search for effective and natural remedies for spinal stenosis continues, medical cannabis has emerged as a promising alternative treatment option. With its well-documented pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory properties, medical cannabis has the potential to provide significant benefits to those suffering from the condition.
Medical cannabis contains cannabinoids that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is a complex network of receptors that helps regulate various physiological processes, including pain perception, inflammatory response, and more.
There are two primary cannabinoids found in medical cannabis:
- Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a psychoactive cannabinoid that interacts with CB1 receptors, which are primarily found in the brain. This type of interaction is responsible for the ‘high’ experienced by those who use cannabis.
- Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid that can interact with CB2 receptors, mainly located throughout the body’s immune system.
Potential Benefits of Medical Cannabis for Spinal Stenosis
In this section, we will review some of the noteworthy benefits that medical cannabis offers to individuals living with this challenging condition. From pain management to inflammation reduction, medical cannabis has been a subject of growing interest in the realm of spinal stenosis treatment.
One of the primary symptoms of spinal stenosis is chronic pain, which can severely impact a person’s daily life. As aforementioned, medical cannabis contains cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, which interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system to help regulate pain perception.
Studies have revealed that medical cannabis can be an effective treatment for chronic pain, including neuropathic pain often associated with spinal stenosis. THC-CBD oil helped patients who had surgery for neuropathic pain feel decreased discomfort, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Pain Research.
Using medical cannabis as a pain management tool can help reduce the reliance on traditional pain medications, such as opioids, which can have significant side effects and potential for addiction.
In a 10-year follow-up study published in the Spine Journal, researchers found that patients with depression or anxiety who have undergone spinal surgery are more likely to experience symptoms of recurrent stenosis.
Hence, people with spinal stenosis can benefit from medical cannabis, which helps them manage pain and anxiety and improve their mood. Additionally, its use has been shown to alter serotonin receptor activity in the brain — and thus could be useful as a treatment for depression.
Living with spinal stenosis can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, including difficulty sleeping due to pain and discomfort. Medical cannabis has been shown to improve sleep quality by reducing pain and promoting relaxation.
2. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a pivotal component of any spinal stenosis treatment plan. A skilled physical therapist can design a personalised exercise programme that focuses on improving strength, flexibility, and balance.
These exercises can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and elevate spinal health. Additionally, physical therapists can provide guidance on proper body mechanics and posture, which can further help minimise the symptoms of the condition.
According to a review published in the Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, the best physical therapy interventions for lumbar spinal stenosis include flexibility, stabilisation, and strengthening exercises. Joint mobilisation is also a viable option based on the data reviewed.
Yoga and stretching exercises can prove highly beneficial for individuals with the spinal condition. These practices promote flexibility, strengthen core muscles, and help maintain spinal alignment. Gentle yoga poses and stretches that focus on the spine, such as cat-cow, child’s pose, and cobra pose, can provide relief from pain and stiffness associated with spinal stenosis.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese therapy that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body to stimulate energy flow, or ‘qi’. By targeting specific acupuncture points related to the spine, this therapy can provide a natural approach to pain relief.
Research suggests that acupuncture can help alleviate pain and improve functionality for spinal stenosis patients. One 2013 meta-analysis published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine suggests that acupuncture combined with standard treatment can help improve outcomes for patients living with lumbar spinal stenosis.
5. Heat and Cold Therapy
Heat and cold therapy are home remedies many patients use to soothe the symptoms of spinal stenosis, including central canal or foraminal narrowing. Both heat and cold therapies are great pain management methods, as they are safe, free, and have no side effects.
Heat therapy helps reduce pain by relaxing and loosening tense muscles, promoting blood flow and nutrients to speed up healing. Applying heat to the affected area, such as using a heating pad or warm bath, can relieve spinal stenosis pain.
On the other hand, cold therapy can help reduce inflammation and swelling, which in turn helps ease pain. Cold therapy decreases skin and muscle temperature, reducing blood flow and metabolic processes.
Biofeedback involves using electronic devices to monitor specific physiological functions and provide real-time feedback to the patient. This intervention allows them to learn how to modify their physiological responses to reduce pain and improve general well-being.
Although there is limited research specifically on biofeedback for spinal stenosis, it has been used to treat various chronic pain conditions, including back pain. By promoting relaxation and increasing self-awareness, biofeedback may help improve the quality of life for those suffering from spinal stenosis.
Meditation can be beneficial for individuals with spinal stenosis, as it has been shown to help reduce low back pain and enhance the quality of life. Sitting still and focusing on your breath can help manage pain and promote relaxation.
Studies have demonstrated a clear connection between meditation and pain relief. A 2016 clinical trial published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that focused meditation led to improvements in symptoms (including pain) in patients with chronic low back pain.
Moreover, meditation has been found to be effective in increasing emotional self-regulation, concentration, attention span, working memory, productivity, and coping strategies. All these can be helpful for individuals dealing with spinal stenosis.
8. Herbal Remedies
Certain herbal supplements may help alleviate aches and inflammation associated with spinal stenosis. For example, turmeric contains curcumin, a natural anti-inflammatory compound that has been shown to have pain-relieving effects. The same goes for ginger, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may reduce pain by blocking the production of inflammatory compounds.
Other supplements, such as Boswellia and omega-3 fatty acids, may also help reduce discomfort and provide relief from spinal stenosis symptoms. However, consulting with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen is essential.
Conclusion – Holistic Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
Natural remedies for spinal stenosis can make a significant difference in managing this complex condition. From physical therapy to medical cannabis, these natural remedies offer a holistic approach to easing pain, improving mobility, and enhancing the quality of life for those affected by the condition.
Incorporating these natural remedies into your daily routine can provide numerous benefits, helping you to regain control over your spinal health and well-being. However, it is crucial to consult your doctor before trying new treatments. It’s also essential to support your spinal health through healthy lifestyle choices, such as regular exercise and a balanced diet.
So are you ready to take the next step towards a healthier, more comfortable life? We invite you to book an appointment at Lyphe, where our team of experts will help you develop a personalised treatment plan tailored to your unique needs and preferences. Don’t let spinal stenosis hold you back any longer – take charge of your spinal health and well-being by reaching out to Lyphe today.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I improve my spinal stenosis naturally?
You can improve your spinal stenosis naturally by incorporating lifestyle changes and alternative therapies. Furthermore, eating an anti-inflammatory diet and practising relaxation techniques can help prevent flare-ups.
What are the best herbs for spinal stenosis?
Some of the best herbs for spinal stenosis include medical cannabis, turmeric, and devil’s claw. These herbs contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce pain associated with the condition.
What supplements can help spinal stenosis?
Glucosamine and chondroitin are nutritional supplements recommended for osteoarthritis, which may also help with spinal stenosis. However, it’s important to consult your healthcare provider before trying any supplements for the condition.
What makes spinal stenosis worse?
Prolonged standing or walking may increase pain, as well as leaning backwards, as this can compress the nerves in the spine. It is also important to avoid activities that involve heavy lifting or twisting the spine, as these can exacerbate symptoms.
How do you treat spinal stenosis without surgery?
Several non-surgical treatment options are available for the treatment of spinal stenosis. These include physical therapy, pain medication, and alternative therapies like medical cannabis.
Kim, K. H., Kim, T., Lee, B. R., Kim, J. K., Son, D. W., Lee, S. W., & Yang, G. Y. (2013). Acupuncture for lumbar spinal stenosis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 21(5), 535-556. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2013.08.007
Michalsen, A., Kunz, N., Jeitler, M., Brunnhuber, S., Meier, L., Lüdtke, R., Büssing, A., & Kessler, C. (2016). Effectiveness of focused meditation for patients with chronic low back pain—A randomized controlled clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 26, 79-84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.010
Price, R. L., Charlot, K. V., Frieler, S., Dettori, J. R., Oskouian, R., & Chapman, J. R. (2022). The Efficacy of Cannabis in Reducing Back Pain: A Systematic Review. Global Spine Journal. https://doi.org/10.1177_21925682211065411
Quattrone, D., Bova, G., Barbagallo, A. A., Mondello, C., Mannucci, C., Pietro, M. D., Arcoraci, V., & Calapai, G. (2018). Cannabinoids and spinal cord stimulation for the treatment of failed back surgery syndrome refractory pain. Journal of Pain Research, 11, 1761-1767. https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S166617
Tuomainen, I., Pakarinen, M., Aalto, T., Sinikallio, S., Kröger, H., Viinamäki, H., & Airaksinen, O. (2018). Depression is associated with the long-term outcome of lumbar spinal stenosis surgery: a 10-year follow-up study. The spine journal : official journal of the North American Spine Society, 18(3), 458–463. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.spinee.2017.08.228
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