Can Massage Therapy Help Spinal Stenosis?


Yes, massage therapy can help in spinal stenosis treatment. 

However, massage is best effective in treating spinal stenosis when combined with physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture. 

Moreover, research shows that many spinal stenosis patients respond positively to myofascial release massage therapy and Swedish massage. 

In this article, you would learn all you need about spinal stenosis and how effective massage therapy is in treating spinal stenosis.

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Stenosis is a condition that can occur in the body’s tabular structure. This condition often occurs within the spinal column, which houses the spinal cord, vertebrae, and nerve roots. Simply put, stenosis involves the narrowing and constrictions of the spinal canal. 

Spinal stenosis commonly affects the lower back and the neck region. There are two types of spinal stenosis (lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical spinal stenosis), and both similarly affect the body.

Furthermore, spinal stenosis is mainly acquired or inherited. Patients who inherit the disease have a small spinal canal at birth that can narrow over time.

For those who acquired the condition, spinal stenosis develops slowly over many years due to age-related degeneration. Over time, the spaces between the nerve roots, spinal cord, and vertebrae are narrowed. This spinal canal narrowing can cause abnormal tissue or bone growth. 

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What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Various things are responsible for the occurrences of spinal stenosis, which, if left untreated, can lead to loss of bowel and bladder function. Moreso, the pain can become unbearable as you get older. 

Hence, many patients quickly turn to prescription drugs or even surgery, despite proven non-invasive relief from chiropractic via spinal decompression and regular massage treatment. 

Cramps, weakness, pains, and general discomfort may occur in other body parts, including the arms, legs, and buttocks. Extremely sensitive nerves situated within the spinal canal that cause stenosis can be affected by:

  • Growths like bone spurs located in the spinal canal
  • Any condition which involves a firm tightening of the ligaments which squeezes the spine closer together
  • Tumors attached to the spine itself
  • Anything which adds abnormal pressure on the spine
  • Arthritis and traumatic injury to the spine
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It should be noted that heredity plays a significant part if you have an abnormally narrow spinal canal at birth, making you stand a high chance of acquiring this condition.

Is Massage Therapy Good For Spinal Stenosis

Yes, there’s no doubt that massage therapy is helpful in the treatment of spinal stenosis. Massage therapy is a proven and reliable means of providing relief for millions of Americans. 

Besides, medical cases reported by the National Institutes of Health and the Annals of Internal Medicine give credibility to massage therapy’s value in treating back pains and many other related conditions. 

In addition, a published study from 2011, which included over 400 participants, proves that massage is an effective treatment, and its benefits can be felt even after ten weeks of regular massage sessions over six months.

Massage therapy, in particular, is effective for spinal stenosis, including deep tissue massage, which has been reported to relieve accumulated not only tension in muscles but also ligaments and tendons. This, in turn, drastically reduces the spine of pressure. 

Nowadays, many doctors prescribe therapeutic massages to their patients. This is because scientific studies show regular massage can promote the range of motion and neutralize the effects of stenosis.

Is There A Good Or Bad Time To Receive Massage Therapy?

A good number of Americans think there is not a bad time for a massage, but they are wrong. Some of the worst messages you could experience are when you get just in time or right after stressful situations. 

Also, you could have a negative massage experience when you’re always busy worrying that you would be late for something to do right after the session.

When planning your massage session, be careful not to press your time immediately before or after the massage. For example, it may not be appropriate to have a session scheduled for 7 a.m. on Monday so you can begin your stressful work week before 8:30 a.m. 

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Instead, consider planning your pre-session and post-session with a time buffer so that you get the most out of the massage therapy after investing time, money, and energy in preparation and use. 

Brace yourself up for success by protecting the time prior, during, and after your scheduled massage session.

What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis?

Some people don’t show symptoms when their spinal stenosis develops initially. This is because the spinal canal narrows and worsens gradually with time. Furthermore, various patients may exhibit different symptoms, and it may even come and go.

The paragraphs below enumerate the symptoms of spinal stenosis (lower back):

  • Sciatica ( this refers to pain that begins from the buttocks and goes down the leg or foot)
  • Electric-like or burning sensation or pains in the lower back. These pains may come and go.
  • Feeling pins and needles sensations in the leg, foot, and buttocks
  • A feeling of heaviness in the legs, which may result in cramping in one or both legs.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control in highly severe cases
  • Weakness in the foot as the condition deteriorates.
  • Pain that lessens when bending or leaning slightly forward, sitting, and walking uphill
  • Worsening of pains when standing for a long time or walking downhill.

Here are symptoms of spinal stenosis (neck or cervical):

  • Loss of hand function, which includes having issues buttoning shirts or writing.
  • Neck pain, or tingling, in the arm, leg, or foot.
  • Clumsiness or weakness in the hand, arm, leg, or foot.
  • Issues with maintaining balance.
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control

Mentioned below are symptoms of spinal stenosis ( abdomen or thoracic):

  • Problems with balance.
  • Numbness, tingling, weakness, and pains at or below the abdomen level.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is a massage suitable for spinal stenosis?
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Yes, massage is good for spinal stenosis. Stenosis gets the spine constricted by narrowing the spinal canal and placing stress on everything nearby, straining and tightening the tendons, ligaments, and muscles. The massage relaxes and loosens the affected muscles, providing an incredible feeling of relief.

  • How many times should you get a massage?

The answer is dependent on your emotional or psychological needs, physical and pain needs, and whether you can afford the cost. Nevertheless, you will enjoy the best benefits if you receive a regular massage. Therefore, we recommend that you massage once per week or two weeks. Although this is ideal, it may not be realistic for everyone.

  • What position is best for spinal stenosis?

If you suffer from spinal cord stenosis, you should consider sleeping in a fetal position or in an adjustable bed that allows your head and knees to be raised. This helps to reduce the pressure on the spinal cord. However, if you have pain in the hip joint, the best sleeping position is on the side with a pillow between your knees.

Final Words

Spinal stenosis is a painful and deadly condition, but fortunately, there are many treatment options. 

However, do not assume that cortisone injections or surgery are better options than more conservative treatments such as massage, physical therapy, chiropractic, and acupuncture. 

Instead, why not begin your treatment with natural, non-invasive options? 

Finally, if you are suffering spinal stenosis, ensure to set up your initial consultation appointment with a massage therapist and begin the path toward your pain relief!

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website results from in-depth research on various topics. The articles on this site are only for informational and educational purposes, and it’s not intended as medical or health advice. Hence, we suggest you always ensure to seek the opinion of your doctor or other qualified health personnel regarding any questions that relate to health objectives or medical conditions.

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