The Role of Exercise in Treatment of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

  • Sean T. Matsuwaka
  • Brian C. Liem
Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation (J Friedly, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation


Purpose of Review

Lumbar spinal stenosis is a common condition that can cause significant disability due to low back or leg pain and walking limitations. Initial non-surgical management usually involves exercise. This review examines available evidence for various forms of exercise in managing symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS).

Recent Findings

Evidence for exercise in treating lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms is limited with a lack of robust, randomized-controlled trials. Generally, combinations of stretching, core strengthening with emphasis on lumbar flexion, and well-tolerated cardiovascular exercises are recommended.


Based on current evidence, various forms of exercise seem reasonable to consider for LSS symptoms as no one exercise has been shown to be superior. Engaging patients to exercise and addressing barriers is important to improve the adherence to and effectiveness of treatment. Future research is needed to study exercises specifically for LSS and compare the efficacy of different exercises in managing LSS.


Lumbar spinal stenosis Exercise Low back pain Spine Rehabilitation 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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