Lumbar spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by age-related changes of the spine, which can squeeze the spinal cord or its nerve roots. Some of these changes cannot be prevented, but you may be able to control the severity of spinal stenosis by keeping your back healthy. Regular exercise and flexibility stretches, a healthy body weight, and good posture are all important to the condition of your spinal column.
Don't smoke—smoking has been linked to back pain and disc problems. It decreases your bone density and increases your risk of fracture and bone deterioration. Also, smoking can make it more difficult for the bone to heal after a spinal fusion.
If you have spinal stenosis, you can take steps to prevent the condition from getting worse. You may have symptoms of pain, weakness, and numbness in the legs, which increase your risk of losing your balance. If you fall, you may aggravate your spinal stenosis. You can reduce your risk of falling by:
- Limiting your use of alcohol and sedative medicines, such as flurazepam (Dalmane) or diazepam (such as Valium), which cause drowsiness or dizziness.
- Removing obstacles in your house that may cause you to fall. Household hazards that can cause falls include slippery floors, poor lighting, electrical cords, cluttered walkways, and throw rugs.
- Taking medicines only as directed by your health professional. Review medicines periodically with your primary care doctor, especially if you have more than one doctor prescribing them. You may increase your risk of falling if you take medicines such as sleeping pills or pain relievers.
- Wearing low-heeled shoes that fit well.