ENERGY EXPRESS

Basic butt squeezing can ease spinal stenosis pain

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It's a narrowing of your spinal canal and not a good thing to have. People with spinal stenosis are usually people in pain when they walk, run, swing a tennis racket, attempt a round of golf.

The pain, which is the result of the narrowed spinal column compressing the nerves inside, often starts in the buttocks and extends to the calves. Treatment ranges from physical therapy to serious drugs to even more serious and risky surgery.

If at all possible, avoid surgery of any kind, but be especially careful about back surgery. And always consider nonsurgical alternatives.

While aging, arthritis and certain injuries can bring on spinal stenosis, you can ease the pain and lower your risk of problems by doing things that create more space in your spine and keep your spinal column strong, supple and open. What kinds of things?

Yoga and pilates are two. The positions and exercises you'll learn there are designed to balance and increase the flow of energy through your spinal column and throughout your core. The movements cause fluids to flow into and out of those vital areas, nourishing and lubricating the surrounding area. The result? The nerves are no longer being compressed and you feel less pain or, in some cases I know of, no pain at all.

Another recommended non-surgical treatment is called dynamic lumber stabilization, as detailed recently by the Mayo Clinic Health Letter, which in my view is one of the best and most reliable medical newsletters around; it's geared to teaching ordinary folks extraordinary lessons about self-care.

Don't just read it try it! Flatten, tighten, tip. Do it consciously several times a day and hope it becomes more and more of a habit. Flattening the curve in your lower back that's where the butt squeezing figures in is good for helping spinal stenosis and other things too, including more traditional low back pain.

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