Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Stenosis and Walking

MollyFiveMMollyFive Posts: 7
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:38 AM in Spinal Stenosis
Just wondering what advice people have been given regarding walking with severe spinal stenosis. I also have a herniated disk l4/l5 and it is very painful to walk even a short distance. Thanks in advance


  • Lean forward so it doesn't hurt so much? Hi, and welcome to the board. I don't think there is any advice for stenosis. It's not like exercising is going to take away the stenosis. I'm sorry if I sound a little flippant. I have the same problem and I know how much it hurts very well.

    I got to the point where I was driving down my driveway to get my mail out of the box at the street. I could not stand for more than a minute or two. I had surgery to clean out the stenosis. There really isn't a lot that can be done for it. I suppose if the stenosis is caused by your herniated disc, when that problem is solved it may help the stenosis. But usually stenosis, which just means "narrowing," is caused by arthritic changes in the spine.

    I like to think of it as an old copper pipe that has become totally clogged up with mineral deposits. As more and more gunk builds up, there is less and less room for the water to pass through. So it is with the spinal cord or the foramina. They are supposed to be openings that the nerves pass through, but when they become clogged with degenerative "changes" (gunk), it takes up space that the nerves need. Without sufficient space, the nerve becomes pinched off and compression is the result. Depending on where the stenosis is located, you end up with referred pain in the lower extremities or in the arms and hands. You can run a search for a dermatome map or chart to see where L4-5 refers pain.

    A spinal specialist will probably have you go to physical therapy to see if you can get the disc to heal up on its own. This may be enough to help with the stenosis, if it is not caused by other structural problems. Epidural steroid injections may be tried to see if inflammation is causing the problem. If these conservative measures do not work, the spinal specialist may recommend surgery to clean out the stenosis and open up enough space for the nerves.

    The website, in addition to the forum, has lots of great articles written by various spinal specialists. It is a good idea to learn everything you can about your problems so that you can help participate in your own treatment decisions and so you can understand what the doctor is talking about!



    Please post with all your comments and questions. You will find many friendly people on here who are happy to share their knowledge and experiences.

  • Hi MollyFive, first welcome.

    Here is a link:

    That has good info on this condition.

    I have Severe at L3/L4 more at L5 and some issues in the cervical area. I also must walk, every day. I use a cane - all of the time. It allows me to cant my back open just a degree or 2 and this allows me to relieve the pressure of my vertebra for a longer time. Does it work, Without cane - I can do 200meters before I am in pain and climbing. With cane - I can go most of the day, about 3 to 4 miles, walking.

    I hope you find answers! C45
  • And thanks for the great answers. I haven't tried a cane yet, had a walker in the house for a while. I am seeing a neurosurgeon in a few weeks, but haven't tried PT or injections as of yet. I did go to a chiropractor and he nearly killed me. He told me to walk as much as I can stand and the family doc told me not to move at all. So, I am a little confused about what to do.
  • You'll find that many people on this board are cautious of chiropractors, especially until the patient has an accurate diagnosis from a spinal specialist and is positive there is no nerve involvement. There is a place for chiropractors, but sometimes they can do more harm than good.

    I'm not sure why your family doctor said to not move at all. That used to be the advice to back patients years and years ago, but research has proven that the patient is better off continuing to walk. You will find a list of exercises on this site that are recommended if you have sciatic-type pain from the stenosis. You might look through them. Here is one comment:
    "Exercise is of paramount importance in the treatment of spinal stenosis"

    Here is another link to information about stenosis from a rheumatologist's point of view:


    It too stresses that exercise is very important. Unlike having an unstable spine, stenosis should not be made worse by sensible exercising. (Taking up weightlifting or kick boxing at this point is not a good idea. @) ).
  • I have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis for about a year. My symptoms are not constant but seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity. Sometime I will go grocery shopping and I will have pain that radiates from my tailbone to both sides of my hips. Then my legs feel numb. I stoop down, and it will relieve the pain for a little while. My doctor told me that the operation is only 2/3 successful, that is why I’m putting it off. I would like other people on this site to offer their experience about the operation they have gone through and if it helped or not. Thanking you in advance for your reply

  • ladylacelladylace KentuckyPosts: 1
    I was diagnosed with lumbar stenosis. I have trouble walking up stairs and my back hurts if I walk to much or stand for more then a few minutes. When standing I put a foot up on a stool or on a chair.  My dr prescribed a quad cane and it has helped with the walking and going up stairs. She has also sending me to a pain management clinic.
Sign In or Register to comment.