What Is Spinal Stenosis?

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Spinal Stenosis is a condition that involves abnormal stenosis or narrowing of the spaces in the spinal column, which in turn results in a pressurized compression of the spinal cord as well as the nerves that travel towards your extremities. Spinal stenosis typically occurs in the neck and the lower back regions.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

One of the most common causes of Spinal Stenosis is aging. There are a number of changes that occur within the human body over time such as thickening of connective tissues, deterioration of cushioning between vertebral disks, and breakage of facet joints that can lead to a stenosis of the spinal column.

Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis can also reduce the spacing in between the vertebrae and cause spinal stenosis. There are also several reported cases in which hereditary spinal stenosis manifests itself as a congenital defect in the form of distortion of the spinal canal shortly after birth.

Another medical condition known as spondylolisthesis can cause vertebral slips and dislocation leading to a narrowing of the spinal canal. A tumor or tissue growth within the spinal canal can eventually cause the entire spinal framework to collapse and result in stenosis.

In many cases, spinal stenosis is can also be attributed to serious injury or trauma to the vertebrae that cause broken fragments to enter and block the spinal column.

What Are the Various Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

Studies indicate that the symptoms of spinal stenosis tend to become more pronounced over a period of time due to an increase in the neurological deficit. Some of the common symptoms associated with spinal stenosis are:

  • Extreme fatigue in the limbs
  • Excruciating pain in the lower back while walking or standing
  • A loss of sensation or numbness in the legs and buttocks
  • Frequent falling due to body imbalance

How Can Spinal Stenosis Be Treated?

Despite the fact that there is no permanent cure for Spinal Stenosis, there are several ways in which the progression of the symptoms can be subdued and the patient can experience a certain level of comfort and relief.

  • Regular exercise is helpful not only in strengthening the muscles in your extremities but also in improving your balance and regulating pain.
  • Many doctors prescribe specific medications such as analgesics and anti-inflammatories to relieve the pain and soreness in spinal stenosis patients. In certain cases, a rheumatologist can also prescribe you medication to ease out muscle spasms and provide relief.
  • If the patient experiences exceptionally high levels of discomfort and pain even after taking the prescribed medications, he may be injected with cortisone directly into the area around the spinal cord. These epidural injections are aimed at providing instant relief, to the patient, which is also somewhat temporary in nature.
  • In chronic cases of spinal stenosis, where the condition is worsening and becoming more serious, the doctors may perform a surgical procedure known as decompression laminectomy to widen the space in the spinal column.

Although spinal stenosis can greatly hamper your abilities to live a normal life, you can make sincere efforts to minimize the pain and discomfort that arise as a part and parcel of the disease.

Contact Our Office

If you’re experiencing back pain, balance issues, or muscle spasms, it could be a sign of something much more serious. Contact Advanced Spine and Orthopedics to learn more about what you’re experiencing and a proper diagnosis. Dr. Kevin James, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon, can help you find the comfort your desire.