Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the space in your vertebrae that house and protect your nerves and spinal cord. With less space, these nerves can become pinched or compressed, resulting in pain and inflammation.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE SPINAL STENOSIS?
The vertebrae that compose your spinal column serve to provide structure and function to your body. But your vertebrae play an arguably more important role in your body; they protect the spinal cord.
Your spinal cord is composed of nerves that carry signals between the brain and the rest of your body. The spinal cord passes through spaces in the vertebrae called foramina as well as spaces between the vertebrae called intervertebral foramina.
Spinal stenosis occurs when these spaces become too narrow and impact the nerve in the form of pressure, pinching, or inflammation.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
In most situations, spinal stenosis is caused by degeneration, meaning age related wear-and-tear. While it can occur at any level of the spine, spinal stenosis in the lumber region (lower back), is most common. When a spinal disc degenerates, or collapses, it can reduce the space available for nerves to pass through, resulting in pain.
Another cause of spinal stenosis is obstruction into the space the nerves occupy. For example, ligaments can enlarge or bone spurs can occur, restricting the space for the nerves to move freely.
What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
As we age, almost every adult experiences narrowing of the spinal canal. But not every situation results in external symptoms. Common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Radicular (radiating) pain
- Poor balance
- Difficulty walking
- Problems controlling urine or bowel movements
These symptoms tend to express themselves in relation to where the spinal stenosis has occurred. If the spinal stenosis has occurred in the neck or cervical area of the spine, you will likely feel these symptoms in the neck, shoulders, or arms. If the spinal stenosis has occurred in the lower back or lumbar area of the spine, you will likely feel these symptoms in the back, legs, hips, or feet.
If you think you are experiencing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, you may need treatment. Confirm your condition below with our online condition tool.
HOW IS SPINAL STENOSIS TREATED?
To treat spinal stenosis, you will need an accurate diagnosis from a physician or spine expert. The spine specialists at Oasis Orthopedic and Spine will help you obtain a diagnosis by examining your medical history, conducting a physical exam, and medical imaging. Based on your specific symptoms and diagnosis, a treatment plan will be created to help you find relief from your back pain.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Spinal Stenosis
In most situations, spinal stenosis treatment will begin with non-surgical procedures. The non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis can include:
- Activity modification
- Physical therapy
- Over the counter or prescription pain medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Epidural Steroid Injections
- Chiropractic care
Spinal stenosis symptoms often tend to worsen over time, so taking action to alleviate your pain now can save you from increased pain in the future.
If non-surgical treatments do not improve your spinal stenosis condition or if your spinal stenosis condition is deemed severe, you may need a minimally invasive surgical treatment. Minimally invasive surgeries for spinal stenosis seek to reduce pain and stop further damage to the impacted nerves. There is a range of minimally invasive surgical treatment used to treat spinal stenosis including:
- Endoscopic Foraminotomy
- Anterior or Posterior Cervical Discectomy
- Endoscopic Laminectomy
- Endoscopic Laminotomy
- Lumbar Endoscopic Discectomy
- Spinal Fusions
The experts at Oasis Orthopedic and Spine will create a customized treatment plan to provide the safest and best care possible for your specific condition and symptoms. If you’d like to get a head start on finding the right treatment for your condition, click the button below.