Back pain gets worse with age

Back pain: what helps with bottleneck syndrome?

Status: 23.03.2021 1.30 p.m.

Narrowing of the spinal canal is more common with age. Exercise can help against spinal stenosis. In some cases, surgery is inevitable.

The main symptoms of spinal stenosis are exercise-related back pain and leg pain, mainly when walking, standing and sitting upright.

In the spinal canal of the spine, the spinal cord runs from the brain to the upper lumbar area. Age-related wear causes the intervertebral discs between the vertebral bodies to become flatter and wider. As a result, the ligaments that support the small joints of the individual vertebrae are no longer so tight.

Due to the greater mobility of the vertebral bodies, bone growths develop in the small joints, which continue to narrow the spinal canal and exert pressure on the nerve fibers in the spinal canal. If the pressure is too great, this can lead to severe pain.

Early symptoms: tingling and numbness

In addition to the typical pain when walking and standing, other symptoms often occur with spinal stenosis:

  • In the early stages of the disease, especially tingling, weakness and numbness in the legs
  • in later phases also urinary and fecal incontinence and erectile dysfunction.

A typical phenomenon is that pain occurs when bending back and the symptoms subside as soon as the trunk tilts forward, thereby stretching the spine.

Imaging techniques used in diagnosis

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is usually performed to visualize the spinal cord in the spine. It makes the spinal stenosis, the intervertebral discs and the nerve roots directly visible. However, not every noticeable narrowing of the spinal canal must cause symptoms. Radiologically proven spinal stenosis can also remain without symptoms.

Conservative therapy: gymnastics and medication

As a rule, conservative therapies are used first, especially physiotherapy and pain medication.

  • goal of physical therapy is to train the back and abdominal muscles, because strong muscles stabilize the back and can relieve the lumbar spine. This should minimize the hollow back position of the lumbar spine so that the spinal canal widens. It is particularly important during therapy to address the deep muscles: The so-called multifidii muscles are tiny muscles that give the spine stability. They can best be addressed through special balance and vibration training.
  • Medication support physiotherapy by relieving pain and preventing the muscles from cramping. If the pain is very severe, an injection of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory cortisone can bring relief directly to the affected nerve root.
  • Can provide additional relief Relaxation procedure bring.

The cause of the complaints, namely the progressive narrowing of the spinal canal, cannot be reversed by physiotherapy. Regular training can nevertheless lead to a lasting reduction in the symptoms.

When to have an operation

The operative therapy consists in an enlargement (decompression) of the spinal canal. Surgery is only recommended if the pain can no longer be relieved with conservative measures.

The doctor should not make decisions based on x-rays alone, but on the actual symptoms. It is not uncommon for the X-rays to look bad, but those affected hardly have any symptoms. Whether an operation makes sense depends above all on how severe the patient's suffering is and whether nerves are at risk.

Everyday tips for those affected

  • Ride a bike, it will give your nerves more space.
  • Sit down and bend forward if your back hurts and your legs don't want to go any further.
  • Pull your navel towards your spine and tilt your pelvis backwards. The spinal column now bends so that the bone deposits no longer press on the nerve canal.
  • Stay active, because the abdominal and back muscles support your spine. Exercise a few minutes a day, ideally with a wobble board and vibrating stick. Because untrained muscles lead to tension and new back pain that has nothing to do with the stenosis.

This topic in the program:

The Movement Docs | 03/29/2021 | 9:00 p.m.