Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

May 01, 2021

Spinal Stenosis is a medical condition affecting your spine and causes back or neck pain in mature adults. It narrows your spine, making it compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots. This tightened space can cause your nerves or spinal cord to become irritated, pinched, or compressed leading to pain and sciatica.

Spinal Stenosis mainly affects older people, and it develops slowly over time. It is primarily caused by wear and tear that is osteoarthritis. It only occurs mainly along the spine and affects the lower back and the neck. That’s why we have two types of spinal Stenosis

  • Lumbar canal stenosis
  • Cervical spinal stenosis

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

Many factors lead to spinal Stenosis, and these causes change the structure of the spine leading to the narrowness of the spinal cord or the nerves. Spinal Stenosis causes include,

  • Overgrowth of bones or arthritis spurs
  • Bulging of disks
  • Spinal injuries of fractures
  • Tumors or spinal cord cysts
  • Congenital spinal stenosis
  • Thickened ligaments

Signs and Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

The signs might now show as soon as you have Spinal Stenosis; it may take some time for it to show. The narrowing of your spine is a slow process and worsens with time. The signs vary from one person to another, and they may come and go. The symptoms for lumbar canal stenosis are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Sciatica, pain that starts around your buttocks and extends down to your leg or even foot
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Pain that reduces when walking uphill, leaning, sitting, or slightly bending forward.
  • Tingling or numbing of your leg, foot, or buttocks.
  • Your legs may feel so heavy and can lead to cramping on both or one of your legs.
  • Pain that increases if your stand too long or walking
  • Your leg or foot may weaken as the Stenosis worsens

Cervical Spinal Stenosis has the following symptoms,

  • Neck pain
  • Balancing problems
  • inability to control your bladder or bowel
  • problems with using your hands to write or button clothes
  • your hands, legs, or foot may become or clumsy
  • Tingling or numbness in your hands, legs, or foot

Diagnosis and Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

If you have the mentioned above symptoms, it is advisable to visit our best chiropractor near you. Your medical provider will ask about your symptoms, review your medical history and conduct a physical exam. The physical exam involves your doctor feeling your spine; press some places to see if you are experiencing pain. Your doctor may also check the balance or watch how you move or the strength of your arm. Some tests such as x-rays, ct scans, or MRIs may also be done to inspect in detail the nature of your spine.

The treatment choice depends on the severity of the symptoms, causes of the symptoms, or your problem’s location. If you are experiencing mild symptoms, your doctor may recommend some self-care remedies, which include:

  • Application of heat to reduce the pain
  • Application of ice to reduce tenderness, inflammation, or swelling
  • Exercises that can strengthen your muscles

Some non-surgical treatment may include

  • Physical therapy
  • Oral prescribed medications that will relieve your pain.
  • Decompression procedure
  • Steroid injection

If the treatments failed and the Spinal Stenosis is so severe, your doctor may advise you to have surgery. These options involve removing any bone, facet, or disks that may be crowding your spine. The spinal surgeries may include

  • Laminectomy involves the removal of your lamina, a portion of the vertebra. Some bone spurs and ligaments may also be removed.
  • Spinal fusion where two of your vertebrae are fused to keep your spinal cord stable. It is done after a laminectomy so that the bone removed can be used to create a bridge between the two vertebrae.
  • Discectomy if some part of your disks is compressing spinal nerves.

After the laminectomy surgery, you will have to stay at the hospital for two to three days and three to five days for spinal fusion. If you are an older person, you will have to stay at a rehabilitation center for them to monitor you for some time before you go home. The recovery after surgery takes up to three months or longer for spinal fusion.

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