What is spinal stenosis?
- Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal that often occurs as a result of the wear and tear changes our spines exhibit as we age. This narrowing within the spine can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine on their way to other parts of the body. While spinal stenosis can occur anywhere in the spine, it is most commonly present within the neck (cervical spine) or low back (lumbar spine).
How does spinal stenosis develop?
- While some people are born with a small spinal canal (congenital spinal stenosis), most patients develop spinal stenosis over time. The older we get, the more likely we are to develop spinal stenosis. Causes of spinal stenosis may include:
- Overgrowth of bone (bone spurs) due to arthritis of the vertebrae
- Herniated discs between the vertebrae causing nerve compression within the spinal canal
- Thickened ligaments that surround the spine can bulge into the spinal canal
- Tumors can develop in the spinal cord, nerves, or membranes that cover the spinal cord
- Spinal injuries such as car accidents can lead to vertebral fractures that bulge into the spinal canal
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
- Spinal stenosis can be present in patients with or without symptoms. Once a patient develops symptoms related to spinal stenosis, they typically notice a gradual worsening of those symptoms over time.
- Spinal stenosis in the neck (cervical spine) may lead to:
- Numbness or tingling in the arm, hand, foot or leg
- Weakness in the arm, hand, foot or leg
- Difficulty with balance or walking
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction (in severe cases only)
- Spinal stenosis in the lower back (lumbar spine) may lead to:
- Numbness or tingling in the foot or leg
- Weakness in the foot or leg
- Pain in the lower back, buttocks, legs or feet
- Muscle cramping or spams in the legs
- Increased symptoms when standing or walking or prolonged times, and relief when bending forward or sitting
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
- If you are concerned that you may be having symptoms of spinal stenosis, it is recommended that you seek evaluation by a licensed physician. Our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions are experts in the field of pain management, and have extensive experience diagnosing and treating spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can be diagnosed following a thorough medical history and physical examination, followed by imaging studies. Choosing the correct imaging study is imperative to make an accurate diagnosis, and may include one or several of the following:
- X-rays only visualize bones, but can help determine if you have spinal stenosis by showing age-related changes to the spine such as loss of disc height or bone spurs.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can create much more detailed images of the spine, including the muscles, discs, nerves, and spinal cord.
- Computed tomography (CT) creates cross-section images of the spine, and for some patients can be further enhanced with the injection of dye to make nerves show up more clearly
How is spinal stenosis treated?
- Treatment of spinal stenosis may include one or multiple non-surgical treatment modalities, though advanced cases might require surgical intervention. Our physicians at Remedy Pain Solutions have extensive knowledge and experience in treating spinal stenosis. Some of the most effective treatments offered for spinal stenosis are:
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic treatment
- Steroid injections
- Regenerative injection therapies (PRP, BMAC, A2M)
- Interspinous process devices (Vertiflex, Minuteman)
- Minimally invasive decompression
- Should you or someone you know be experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, or have questions regarding treatment options, contact Remedy Pain Solutions to schedule a consultation today.