What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows in the neck and lower back typically. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves in the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis is commonly found in people over 50 years old but may also occur in younger people as an after-effect of a pre-existing spinal injury. Treatment options vary and are recommended according to the cause of spinal stenosis and the severity of it.
What Are The Symptoms?
Spinal stenosis patients can experience few or no symptoms, particularly in the beginning stages of the condition. As the condition progresses, patients typically develop weakness in the lower or upper extremities, radiating pain, and numbness dependent on where the spinal stenosis is located. If the narrowing is in the cervical spine (neck area) there may be pain in the arms and shoulders. Symptoms in the lower extremities can indicate narrowing in the lumbar spine (lower back area). In extreme cases a patient can experience bowel and bladder dysfunctions or a change in the patient’s gait. Our specialists can run some tests to determine the severity of the patient’s spinal stenosis.
What Are The Causes?
Spinal stenosis is generally caused by the usual wear and tear that takes a toll on our bodies as we get older. It can also develop as a result of a genetic defect or pre-existing condition like scoliosis. Degenerative conditions also increase your chance of developing spinal stenosis. There are some other ailments that can lead to developing spinal stenosis like spinal Paget’s disease, trauma, ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament and tumors on the spine. If you are suffering from spinal stenosis it is crucial that you get help to prevent the narrowing from getting worse or developing herniated discs if you leave it. There are various treatment options available.
What Are The Treatments?
The recommended treatments for spinal stenosis depend on the severity of the condition and preference of the patient. Conservative treatment might be resting, icing the back, and taking over-the-counter pain medication. More intensive treatments to provide more adequate pain relief include interventional pain therapies like nerve blocks, wearing a lumbar brace, steroid injections, and physical therapy. If these interventional therapies aren’t providing enough pain relief, minimally invasive procedures can be recommended by a specialist at Sound Pain Alliance.