Which sport is suitable for spinal stenosis?
One of the most common back diseases beyond the age of 50: the wear-related narrowing of the spinal canal. For a long time, sufferers have complained of typical symptoms, such as pain in the lower back, which radiate under stress in the legs and buttocks, and do not help conservative treatment, in some cases only surgery provides relief. To alleviate the painful consequences of spinal stenosis or to remain pain-free in the long term after an operation, the motto is: movement, movement and again movement. Holidays, sunshine and warm temperatures are therefore no excuse for couch potatos to avoid sporting activities in summer. Above all, sports that are performed with a slight forward trunk inclination such as cycling, backstroke or Nordic walking are good for the spinal canal.
Spinal canal stenosis patients want nothing more than freedom from symptoms and maintaining their mobility. Surgeons put an end to the pain by eliminating all pain triggers with the surgical relief of the spinal canal. If this pressure relief then requires stabilization of the spine, surgeons are increasingly choosing movement-preserving procedures such as flexible spine stabilization - also called TOPS system. In addition to the stability of the spine, this surgical method ensures mobility in the operated area, thus protecting neighboring vertebrae from wear and lower back pain. "So that there is no surgery at all or to avoid complaints after an operation in other spinal areas, everyone is challenged," warns Dr. Thomas Bierstedt, spinal surgeon and specialist in neurosurgery from the Orthopedic-Neurosurgical Center in Datteln and Recklinghausen. "Always keep moving" is the most important rule, because especially with protection, there is a risk of worsening of the symptoms. Movement promotes blood circulation, supports the removal of harmful substances and stimulates the supply of nutrients. In addition, adequate physical exertion strengthens the back and abdominal muscles, which support the spine like a body's own corset.
"Patients who have problems with wear-related narrowing of the spinal canal help sports that are practiced with a slight forward trunk inclination," says Dr. Bierstedt. “This primarily includes cycling. If patients take care of a correct posture and support their upper body, the forward inclination relieves the pressure on nerves and vessels in the spinal canal. ”Backstroke is also suitable, which not only widens the spinal canal, but also strengthens muscles and protects joints. Sports such as hiking or light jogging also offer more than simple endurance training. Their uniform movement sequences optimally strengthen the muscle corset of the back without overwhelming the joints. Regular gymnastics with strong forward inclinations also provide relief. Nordic walking is particularly suitable for overweight people because it trains arms and legs and therefore the whole body in addition to the back. “The sporty people should be said: Consistent physical activity prevents back pain. After an operation, adequate exercise reduces the risk that symptoms will recur, ”concludes Dr. (pm)