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Pilate Exercises for Lumbar Stenosis

written by: Finn Orfano • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 2/15/2010

Pilate exercises for lumbar stenosis will help strengthen your core and help to relieve pressure from the lumbar region. Using these exercises can help reduce symptoms of lumbar stenosis.

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    Lumbar Stenosis

    Lumbar stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lumbar region. This narrowing occurs when the growth of bone or tissue, or in some cases both reduces the opening size of the spinal bones. The narrowing squeezes and irritates the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. Using Pilate exercises for lumbar stenosis can strengthen your core and take pressure off the lumbar region.

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    Pilate Exercises

    Double Knee to Chest Stretch

    The double knee to chest stretch uses the lower back muscles, hamstrings, and glutes.

    Using a yoga mat, lie on your back. While inhaling, lift both knees to your chest. Wrap your arms around your legs just below the knees. Pull them to your chest again with a pulsating movement to give an extra stretch. To assist the stretch, push your tailbone into the floor. Bring your knees into your chest while your tailbone touches the floor. Hold the stretch. Switch legs quickly. Exhale slowly and repeat with the other side. Repeat 8 - 10 times.

    Single Leg Stretch

    Single leg stretch is all about learning to move from center. The single leg stretch uses the abdominals to initiate movement. It also uses the abdominals to support and stabilize your core as the arms and legs are in motion.

    On a mat, lie on your back with your knees bent. Your shins should be parallel to the floor. Breathe deeply into the back and lower abdominals. Inhale. While exhaling, pull your abdominals in. Take your belly button down toward your spine, and curl your head and shoulders up to the tips of the shoulder blades. While curling up, extend your left leg at a 45-degree angle. Your right leg remains in the starting position with your shin still parallel to the floor, your right hand grasping the right ankle, and the left hand moving to the right knee. Maintain the upper-body curve throughout the exercise. Remember to keep the shoulders relaxed and abdominals deeply scooped. Inhale and switch legs on a two-part inhale. Breathe in as your left knee comes in and bring more air in as you gently pulse the knee toward you. At this position, the left hand is at the left ankle and the right hand at the left knee. Exhale and switch legs. Now bring the right leg in with a two-part exhale, pulse, and extend the left leg. The hand to leg coordination will continue with the outside hand of the bent leg going to the ankle, and the other hand moving to the inside of the knee. Repeat 8 - 10 times.

    Single Straight Leg Stretch

    The single straight leg stretch is one of the best exercises for lumbar stenosis, This one uses the abdominals, and stretches the backs of the legs. This exercise is different than the single leg stretch. Lie flat on a mat with your legs extended toward the ceiling. With your legs and heels together in Pilate stance, hips slightly rotated outward. Lengthen your spine and pull in your abdominals. Curl your chin and lift your upper body up off the mat. The tips of your shoulder blades should be touching the mat. Maintain this upper body lift throughout the exercise. This exercise is supported by your abdominals and not by straining the back or neck. Now grasp your right ankle, or below your knee if you have a tight hamstring. Be sure that your left leg is stretched out and at a 45 degree angle. You can adjust the angle of the stretched leg to make the exercise more or less difficult. The lower your leg, the harder the abdominals have to work to maintain alignment. While inhaling, gently pull your right leg toward you. Pulse your leg toward you twice. This will increase your stretch. Switch legs quickly. Exhale and pull your left leg toward you. Pulse the leg toward you twice to increase your stretch. Repeat this 8-10 times.

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    References

    Inner Idea: Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Pilates - www.inneridea.com/library/lumbar-spinal-stenosis-pilates-lumbar-exercises