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Discover Why You May Have Trouble Moving Or Bending [E063]

Having trouble moving or bending? Dr. Jason Hamed, leading expert on lower back challenges, reveals commons reasons you may be experiencing lower back pain, disc bulges or stenosis. In addition, you will also capture ways you can start to relax and move more easily and increase healing into the lower back.

Table Of Contents

Having Trouble Moving – An Introduction

Having Trouble Moving - An Introduction
Photographer: Emiliano Vittoriosi | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: Today, Dr. Jason actually is going to share a bit more of today’s topic, but we’re going to obviously brainstorm and go back and forth on this.

But in clinical practice, he’s done a lot of work with patients that have low back challenges and disc disruptions, and there’s a lot of different names for these different conditions. You might have commonly heard of disc degeneration or a disc bulge or sciatica or a disc herniation. But one that is kind of a sneaky one is something called stenosis.

What we thought we’d do is just kind of share a little bit more on what that actually is, who might have it, what they may feel, what are some of the common ways that you can treat it, and really just break down this hidden enemy, if you will, of what people that experience crippling low back pain or any other areas of the spine, sometimes they don’t even know why it’s happening, and this is one that shows up.

What Is Stenosis And Why It Causes Trouble Moving?

What Is Stenosis?
Photographer: Hadis Safari | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Jason: I mean, stenosis is in a lot of ways would be analogous to heart disease in the spine. I say that, what I mean by that is this, is heart disease doesn’t just show up overnight. Usually, it’s cigarette smoking and stressors that cause trauma to the arteries and that develops over time, when you really have a choking, if you will, or a clogging of the artery, because of all this plaque.

Well, stenosis, what stenosis is folks, essentially it’s choking of the delicate nerves that come out of your spinal cord. Not to get too technical, but think of, I want you to understand that your spine in every segment of your spine called a vertebrate, those little bones that move that make up your spine, every one of those has three distinct holes, two to three distinct holes actually.

One’s a big, big hole right down the middle of it. That’s where your spinal column goes inside. Think of it like a garden hose going right down this big tube. And then there are these little ones, these holes in the side of every one of those bones. That’s where these nerves come out that go to your legs, that go to your arms, they go to your organs, into your muscles.

If you would, imagine right now that the bone of your spine is like a t-shirt. Where your head goes through the big hole and your body and your trunk goes through the bottom hole, that’s where your spinal cord is. Your arms go out these two side holes. Those two side holes, those are the nerves that go down to your right side of your body and the left side of your body. Visualize trouble moving.

Visualizing Stenosis

Dr. Jason: In stenosis, what ends up happening is the holes for your head and your belly and the holes that the arms go through get tighter.

Now, imagine right now, Dr. Bryan, just play along with me. If I tighten up the collar of your shirt, do you get more or less blood flow going to your body, if I choke you?

Dr. Bryan: You start choking me off, I get less.

Dr. Jason: Now same thing, if I choke the bottom of your shirt and wrap it really tight around your stomach, are you going to get more or less blood flow down to your legs?

Dr. Bryan: Definitely less.

Dr. Jason: Right. And then one more time, if I choke the arm pit hole right around where your t-shirts there, are going to get more or less flow of blood to your hands?

Dr. Bryan: Definitely less.

Dr. Jason: That’s what stenosis is. But what happens is the bones get calcium arthritis. That’s what’s causing the choking and this is where it causes the problem. This sneaks up. It doesn’t happen overnight. You can tweak your back trying to hit a golf ball a mile or overdo it in the weight room or try to do a home project and you get a quick injury. But stenosis, on the other hand, takes decades to really build up over time, making trouble moving.

Dr. Bryan: I think everybody knows that feeling of having something squeezing too tight, especially when it comes to clothing. But when that happens and things begin to get choked off.

Blocked blood flow

Dr. Bryan: We’ve all done an example as a kid where we tie a rubber band around our finger. And we tighten or a little string or a piece of yarn or a rubber band around the tip of your finger and the longer you leave it there, what ends up happening to the end of the finger?

Dr. Jason: It gets all swollen and red and you lose sensation there.

Dr. Bryan: You’ve completely blocked the flow of life to that other element or the end of your finger. Even though we’re not really, metaphorically, we were talking about a t-shirt and restriction of the armpit holes might block the flow of energy, your life, or blood going into the hand of the arm, now we take that hole vision and go microscopically into somebody’s one individual segment of their spine, and you’re asking a nerve to out and send a message to a low back muscle or to your feet.

Your feet, or your digestive organs to help you have a bowel movement. And the holes where the nerve has come out have gotten so restricted that the flow of messaging through that nerve has also been trouble moving, and therefore, now we have a really big problem.

Misalignment is choking the nerves

Dr. Jason: This is where I was going to go to next. We got to take this a step back, just to understand what normal is. Normal, healthy spinal bones, as well as those holes are referred to, all really based on how well the body’s trouble moving over time. For instance, normal, ideally speaking, the human spine should be as aligned as possible when we look from the front. It should be straight up and down.

But what happens in life, some that are really big stress like falls and accidents, and some that are smaller, but they add up and make just as bad of an impact over time, like sitting at a desk for eight hours, Doc, or driving in a long commute.

Dr. Bryan: You know what? It would be the exact same thing happens to our arteries, like you talked about on the heart, how people develop plaque and cholesterol over a period of time. You’ve got this thick artery that’s supposed to be just allowing blood to go through it very freely. But now, we’ve all seen pictures of it, it’s plaque has built up and now the actual hole that the blood flows through is so much smaller. This is exactly what he’s talking about for the nerve.

Dr. Jason: Exactly. You’re losing alignment. And unfortunately, now you’re now choking the nerve. But even before that, because you’ve had this misalignment for so long that your body has to adapt to it.

When you have these abnormal alignments and you keep on trouble moving, you create friction on the joints. That friction causes more calcium, Doc, to be laid down around those joints, including those small holes or that calcium, just like in the heart artery, starts to build up.

Calcification causes trouble moving

Dr. Bryan: Here’s the visual that comes to my mind and how you made you, the listener, may be able to really understand how you may visualize it and see this, is underneath the skin all of this is happening and you don’t see it. But what you do see is when you’re in the back seat of Uncle Tommy’s car, or you’re in Grandpa Joe’s car and he’s driving and you see him go to turn over his left shoulder to look and try to see what’s out the window, and he has to move his whole body because his neck doesn’t bend anymore, and he has no range of motion, that’s what you see.

But underneath that, what he’s describing is happening, there’s calcification. The bones are actually growing into each other. The holes where the nerves are actually supposed to have free open spaces is actually closing. But you, the average person that’s listening and actually experiencing this, starts to notice that my movements are restricted, I’m not able to be as flexible. I can no longer bend over the same way that I used to bend. And now certain movements are starting to cause some disruption or pain.

Dr. Jason: Or as well, add to what Doc said, is you’ll have loss of sensation into maybe your hands, if you’ve got stenosis in your neck. You’ll have loss of strength into your arms, if you’ve got stenosis in your neck. In your lower back, if you’ve got stenosis there, you’ll see discomfort or pain going down the legs, you may lose some strength or your ability to walk without tripping. You’ll lose some sensation to the bottom of your feet as well. All those things happen because you’re choking the nerve.

Different Ways To Prevent and Deal With Stenosis

Different Ways To Prevent and Deal With Stenosis
Photographer: Katee Lue | Source: Unsplash

Dr. Bryan: So good news for you is that very similar to cholesterol, like we talked about our plaque building up in the arteries, that there are solutions for that, some that are natural solutions, which would be changing and transforming your diet, some that are some natural supplementation, then there’s some that are more medicine-based that actually would help to break apart the plaque.

Stenosis is the same thing. There are, in my opinion, and you can expand on this, but there’s a few ways that this can be looked at. There are some ways naturally to care for stenosis, which is the best way would be prevent it and be ahead of this and not allow it to happen. But then there is also some techniques and some protocols that are available if you do already find yourself in a situation where you’re dealing with stenosis, and those are natural, and maybe you could speak on those in a minute.

And then lastly, there are some more invasive opportunities that if your stenosis has advanced to the point where, all right, this is really a mess in there and it’s all grown together, then that’s when a lot of people find themselves becoming more reliant on different types of injections and even surgeries, unfortunately.

Improve The Alignment As Best You Can

Dr. Bryan: Let’s say that the person listening doesn’t want to have injections. They don’t want surgeries. Let’s just say that they’re not in category one or three. Category one would be, they didn’t prevent this, so now they’re starting to experience mild restrictions and stenosis, and they want to avoid trouble moving and surgery. What are some natural ways or services or techniques that they could consider?

Dr. Jason: The first thing, first and foremost, is you got to do everything you can to create some more space for that nerve to breathe. That’s what I tell patients. You got to create some more space to breathe. The first thing we have to do from a natural perspective is you have to start to improve alignment as best you can. Now it doesn’t have to be massive.

That’s one of the things that people, I think that patients are surprised of. When you’re talking about the nerves, they are so delicate. You don’t need to take a spine and make it perfectly straight if you’re injured, to actually see a difference. However, have to open up that spine. You got to take it from kinked to slightly unkinked at as best it possibly can to give that nerve to unkink, to unpinch that nerve to give it a little more breathing room.

Work on alignment and get better movement of those joints, because if you don’t work on alignment, if you don’t get the joints to move better, you’re only going to get more callused and more choking of that nerve, period. So that’s the first thing, Doc.

Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression

Dr. Bryan: After I’ve worked on that, what are some more advanced methods? I find myself where I’m dealing with some chronic pain. I’ve been through the ringer – I’ve tried some different services, stretched, my alignment’s better, but apparently this has gotten to the point where there’s some significant nerve compression. What are some other tools that I might think?

Dr. Jason: In that case for that patient, the next most viable, but also the best technology that’s there in natural healthcare is something called nonsurgical spinal decompression. We’ll usually marry that up to, we’re working on someone’s alignment and improving their movement, and then once we can establish that, then we’ll use nonsurgical spinal decompression to actually open up, as Dr. Bryan said, decompress, we’ll decompress that area of the spine, again, opening up the space for that nerve to breathe.

Dr. Bryan: So just to be clear, when you hear the statement, nonsurgical spinal decompression, it’s actually not something that’s painful. That’s actually a feel good experience, meaning you’re actually going through something that does what?

Dr. Jason: It literally well help to decompress. It’ll gently open and close the joint, stretching, if you will, like very specific. I can actually focus on one area of the spine and really just focus all the effort to generally stretch and distract that joint, again, freeing up that nerve and actually hydrating different parts of that joint so it has a little more space even when they come off of the table.

Strengthening and Stabilizing Muscles

Dr. Jason: Then after that, we have to work on strengthening and stabilizing the muscles around that joint. Because if you’re going to go back to doing life, if you will, like whatever your hobbies or your work or the things that you do every day, you got to make sure that your body is strong enough to hold this new alignment. Otherwise you’re going to go right back out of position and then to start this whole cycle all over.

Dr. Bryan: So that’s what people would probably reference as rehab. Right?

Dr. Jason: Yes. We’ll do the alignment and we’ll do the decompression and then we’ll help strengthen their bodies so they can hold that alignment better.

Closing Thoughts with Trouble Moving

Dr. Bryan: Anything else that comes to your mind that you want to share it on stenosis before we wrap up?

Dr. Jason: If you’re noticing reduced movement in your body, specifically, when you try to turn over your shoulder and you’re looking out over your blind spot, if you will, while driving, if you’re having reduced ability to turn left and right or bend over when you’re in your lower back, and if that’s marrying up with any tension in your neck, shoulders, or loss of sensation down to your arms, your legs, and trouble moving, then you may have stenosis.

I want you to know that there are natural ways to handle this without having us to go right to injections. Injections have a time and place. But the research coming out is showing that the overuse of these steroid injections is actually leading to higher levels of osteoporosis and higher levels of diseased states in the future. You want to avoid these things as best as possible.

Even the neurosurgeons and orthopedics that I work with that we send patients to, they’re always saying do it. I mean, you can first to avoid surgery as long as possible because surgical, that’s a slope that once you have it, the research shows within 80% of the people within five years are getting another surgery in an area right around that you just had fixed.

Dr. Bryan: I also don’t think there’s a ton of people, and I know there is a small percentage of people that actually will instantly want an injection or a surgery. But I think the vast majority of people, if they could avoid those things, they probably would want to.

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