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Pilates Reduces Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

By HERWriter
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Pilates Can Reduce Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

Back pain can often be caused by a more chronic condition called spinal stenosis. Here's how Spine-Health.com describes this condition:

“Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal cord in the neck (cervical spine) or the spinal nerve roots in the lower back (lumbar spine) are compressed. Symptoms of lumbar stenosis often include leg pain (sciatica) and leg tingling, weakness, or numbness. Arm pain is a typical symptom of cervical spinal stenosis.”

For many who suffer from this spinal stenosis, there is a tendency to stay sedentary. However, movement is typically recommended.

SpineUniverse.com suggests walking as a way to exercise because it is a low impact workout. They recommend swimming as well.

“Swimming is also an ideal exercise because it exercises all your back muscles in a safe, supportive environment. The water supports your weight well, which means that there's less weight on your back.”

SpineHealth.com recommends cycling as it is low impact. “Patients may have less pain by avoiding the higher impact exercise such as jogging, avoiding contact sports, and avoiding long periods of standing or walking.”

LiveStrong.com says that spinal stenosis was once called “creeping paralysis, because people believed that the condition was untreatable.”

However, Pilates and other core strengthening exercises can help reduce the symptoms. Working as a Pilates instructor in a post-rehab setting, I frequently had the opportunity to bridge patients discharged from physical therapy into a fitness routine.

I often recommend basic set-up Pilates exercises to start. These fundamental basics allow for the mind/body connection through the breath to start to identify the core muscles for strengthening.

Once you have built this connection and have gotten stronger, you can then progress into a more difficult routine.


You first need to establish a mind/body connection through breathing.

Start by lying on your back, knees bent, hands wrapped around your rib cage, just underneath your chest. Breathe in through the nose, expanding the rib cage left to right and front to back.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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