What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis is a common occurrence that affects millions.
The spinal canal, a tunnel running through the vertebrae in your spine, houses the spinal cord. Constriction within this canal can result in compression or irritation of the spinal cord and its nerve roots.
Spinal stenosis more commonly affects the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis) and the neck (cervical spinal stenosis). Although rare, spinal stenosis can also impact the middle back (thoracic spine). At NeuroSpine Plus, our team of experts is dedicated to providing exceptional care for patients with spinal stenosis.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Depending on the severity and location of your spinal stenosis, individuals may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain and discomfort in the neck or back
- Numbness or tingling (“pins and needles”) in the extremities
- Weakness in the muscles of the legs or arms
- Increased pain during prolonged periods of standing or walking
If you are seeking personalized care for spinal stenosis, NeuroSpine Plus is here to assist you. Our expert team is committed to addressing and treating your spinal health concerns.
What are the causes of spinal stenosis?
While individuals may be born with a narrow spinal canal, most cases of spinal stenosis occur due to factors that reduce the space inside the spine.
Causes of spinal stenosis include:
- Bone spurs
Arthritis-related wear-and-tear damage can spur the growth of additional bone on the spine.
- Thick ligaments
Over time, the ligaments that provide support and stability to the spinal bones can thicken and become rigid.
- Herniated discs
The spinal bones are cushioned by soft disks that act as shock absorbers. If the inner material of a disk ruptures, it can impinge upon the spinal cord or nerves.
Although rare, tumors can develop inside the spinal canal, resulting in spinal stenosis.
- Spinal injuries
Traumatic events like car accidents can cause fractures or misalignment of the spinal bones. Swelling of the surrounding tissue following back surgery can also create pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
At NeuroSpine Plus, we prioritize delivering unique, expert care to alleviate spinal stenosis and restore patients' well-being.
What are the treatments for spinal stenosis?
Nonsurgical treatment options for spinal stenosis at NeuroSpine Plus focus on managing symptoms effectively. These approaches include:
- Oral medications
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), available over the counter, help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain associated with spinal stenosis.
- Physical therapy
Strengthening the back and abdominal muscles contributes to improved resilience of the spine.
- Steroid injections
Injection of corticosteroids around the compressed spinal nerves aims to reduce inflammation, alleviate pain, and address irritation caused by spinal stenosis.
Surgery for spinal stenosis is a consideration if all other treatment options have been exhausted. At NeuroSpine Plus, we reserve surgical interventions for complex cases. Fortunately, the majority of individuals with spinal stenosis do not require surgery. There are different types of spine surgery available, including:
- Laminectomy (decompression surgery)
This frequently performed surgery involves removing a portion of the vertebra known as the lamina. Surgeons may also address ligaments and bone spurs contributing to the constriction of the spinal cord and nerves. The procedure creates additional space within the spinal canal.
- Spinal fusion
considered only when radiating nerve pain persists despite other treatments and the spine remains unstable. During this surgical procedure, our experienced healthcare providers permanently join (fuse) two vertebrae together to enhance stability and alleviate symptoms.
Spinal Stenosis FAQ
- Implementing heat therapy: Heat is often recommended for osteoarthritis pain relief. By increasing blood flow, heat relaxes muscles and alleviates joint discomfort.
- Utilizing cold therapy: If heat therapy doesn’t effectively alleviate symptoms, consider using cold therapy. This can be done by applying an ice pack, frozen gel pack, or a frozen bag of peas for 20 minutes on, followed by 20 minutes off. Cold therapy helps reduce swelling, tenderness, and inflammation.
- Engaging in exercise: Prior to starting any exercise regimen, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider. However, exercise can play a significant role in pain relief. Additionally, it strengthens the muscles that support the spine, improves flexibility, and enhances balance.
Spinal stenosis is a frequently occurring condition that affects a significant portion of the population. According to research, up to 95% of individuals experience degenerative spinal changes by the time they reach the age of 50, and spinal stenosis is one of these changes. Among individuals aged 65 and above who require spine surgery, lumbar spinal stenosis emerges as the most frequent diagnosis.