spinal stenosis/degenerative changes in the lumbar spine

The lower lumbar spine is subject to great mechanical strain due to the fact that we humans walk upright. Degenerative changes are dependent on age and strain. Minor cases are very common. Here it is less a question of whether they progress and more a question of how quickly the narrowing develops and whether it causes clinical complaints.

With an upright posture and by working in a manner that does not damage the back, it is exercised gently and this helps keep it healthy and pain free for as long as possible. Strong, functioning back musculature is an important factor here.

With kybun you can integrate back training into your daily routine without expending additional time.


The term spinal stenosis (spinal canal stenosis) refers to narrowing of the vertebral canal. It occurs more frequently in older people and usually in the area of the lumbar spine. The most commonly affected segments are between the third and fourth as well as the fourth and fifth vertebral bodies of the lumbar spine.

The clinical finding is initially uncharacteristic. Functional disturbances, pain and irritation of the ischial nerves can be caused by a range of very different pathological changes in the lumbar spine. Claudicatio spinalis is a typical symptom in spinal stenosis. Patients complain about dragging pains on the front and back of the legs after walking a short distance.


In the course of the normal ageing process, the vertebral discs decrease in height, leading to osteochondrosis intervertebralis; protrusion of the intervertebral discon the one hand, bony growths on the vertebral bodies on the other hand (spondylophytes/osteophytes). Osteoarthritis of the small vertebral arch joints (spondylarthrosis) develops as well. This combination results in an hourglass-shaped narrowing of the spinal canal.

Stenosis can take various forms. Occasionally a relatively intact intervertebral disc shifts in the space between the vertebra and ‘slips’ to the side. This obstructs the spinal canal on one side, causing more severe complaints.

Long-term consequences

Stenosis is often progressive and the speed of development varies. However, the condition tends to stop worsening after a few years. Neurological failures are rare.

In extreme cases, the affected individual is not able to walk more than 100 metres. Additional diagnostics and special therapy are required in such cases.

Conventional therapy

The full range of available pain therapy can be used in parallel. This is often necessary in order to make focused training possible in the first place. Treatment primarily focuses on physical measures such as relaxation exercises, electrotherapy and training therapy, but not on the use of painkillers. However, this treatment is not always effective depending on the clinical picture.

Immediate relief, especially in older patients, is possible with relieving or stabilising torso supports/fabric corsets. This can provide relief for the intervertebral discs.

An operation is, nevertheless, required in some cases. Surgical decompression can expand the spinal canal again. In less severe cases, inserting an interspinous spacer between the spinal processes to expand the spinal canal and nerve exit canals is effective.

The kybun principle of operation – being proactive

Strengthening the core, stabilising back musculature is especially important with degenerative changes of the spinal column (signs of wear). This can improve the stability and security that has been lost, alleviate pain and make it possible to walk longer distances again.

Strengthening the back musculature and stabilising the spine

  • The kybun shoe has a soft, elastic sole that does not limit foot movement but provides the freedom for unrestricted movement in all directions. Walking on the soft, elastic surface and the associated instability in the kybun shoe trains the musculature and straightens the body. (The same applies to the kybun mat with the soft, springy mat)
  • The core, stabilising musculature of the spinal column is strengthened, which in turn serves to stretch the spinal column. This relieves and simultaneously stabilises the back. You can walk more upright and for longer periods again.
  • By activating the core, stabilising back musculature, deep circulation is also stimulated which promotes the healing of injuries.

More upright posture and prevention of wear

  • Sitting for long periods of time, especially with a poor posture, puts one-sided strain on muscles and the spine. Underused muscles get weaker and shorten over time. On the other hand, muscles under excessive one-sided strain respond by tensing up. This leads to neck, hip and back pain, and subsequently to further malpositions. This vicious circle can later lead to spinal column wear.
  • Standing on the soft, elastic, springy mat of the kybun mat or walking in the kybun shoe relaxes, stretches and trains the muscles and helps the body assume a natural, upright posture. This releases tension and imbalances. The standing and posture muscles are strengthened in a targeted manner. Back pain can be relieved by switching between tensing and relaxing the muscles.
  • A more upright posture puts the load on the intervertebral discs with proper axial alignment so they remain healthy.

Initial reactions

Specific initial reactions with degenerative changes in the spinal column (signs of wear):

If you are not yet accustomed to the kybun shoe/kybun mat and have also suffered from back pain for a long time, your familiar pain may increase somewhat at first. With proper use of the kybun shoe/kybun mat, this pain should be alleviated as soon as the back musculature gets stronger through kybun training.
Please keep in mind the ‘Application tips’ below and seek advice from your kybun dealer if you are uncertain or have further questions related to the use of our products.


Click here for the general initial reactions experienced by kybun mat and kybun shoe beginners: Initial reactions

kybun exercises

For information about the special kybun shoe exercises or the basic kybun mat exercises, please click here: kybun exercises

Application tips

If you feel back pain in the kybun shoe or on the kybun mat, or if your familiar pain gets worse, this may have several reasons (e.g. unfamiliar, more upright body posture, tense muscles, unaccustomed movements for the back).

We advise you to perform the kybun exercises regularly every now and again. They loosen the muscles and straighten the body. Strain on the back and especially the intervertebral discs is relieved. Back pain should decrease after just a few hours or days as a result.
Choose the kybun exercises that are good for you! Some customers prefer easier movements while others find the more intensive exercises helpful; this is highly individual.

Choose a kybun shoe with a lower rebound effect. It provides you with greater midfoot stability. Ask your kybun dealer to show you the various models.

If you feel unstable wearing the kybun shoe or are looking for an additional training device to use at home, the kybun mat is the ideal alternative. You can strengthen the foot, leg and back musculature at home on the soft, elastic springy mat. You can hold on to a fixed object if you feel unstable. The kybun mat is also available in a choice of different thicknesses (the thicker, the more intensive the training). Ask your local kybun dealer for advice.

If you get very fatigued in spite of the kybun exercises, or if you feel pain or in case of lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint on the kybun sole, we advise you to take a short kybun shoe/kybun mat break until the symptoms go away.

Be sure to maintain an upright posture, avoid taking excessively long steps and keep your gaze forward (do not look at the floor). You should walk straight on the kybun shoe sole and correct any lateral/medial rolling of the ankle joint!

If the pain continues or a feeling of numbness develops, contact your kybun dealer and seek their advice.

Opinions/customer testimonials

Since the beginning of January 2015 I (77 years old) couldn't walk more than 50 meters because of numbness and pain in both legs. I was diagnosed "Central Stenosis" of lumbar spine. I was told by several doctors that I will need to have spinal operation. My wife Stavroula (72 years old) had a similar problem 1 year ago. She couldn’t walk more than 30 meters because of left leg pain. She was diagnosed with “Lateral Stenosis”.  She overcame her problem after intense physical therapy, acupuncture, exercise and progressive walking with kybun shoe after her physiotherapist recommended it. After all her treatment she was walking 2 km without rest, thus she suggested me to try first the same approach. After 4 months of therapy I could walk close to 1 km. I hesitated to buy kybun shoe even I liked a lot, as I tried them for one day. My wife tried to persuade me to buy them because as she said they are not ordinary shoes but they are a valuable equipment. I hesitated because of the cost which was almost my half pension.  Now two months after wearing these wonderful shoes I feel very satisfied for my decision to buy them. I walk with my wife every day for 75 minutes with a fast pace. We compete with each other about who is going to finish first. Our goal is to walk 10 km a day with kybun shoe in a couple years, when we are going to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. 

After 18 full marathons and several half ones, I recently had to quit running because of pain in the lower back and the legs. The medical diagnosis was Spinal Stenosis. But I never stopped moving. Thanks to the combination of kybun shoes and Pilates, I am able to make long walking-tours and hiking in the wonderful Finnish nature.