Are you facing pain or discomfort near your spinal area? If yes, make sure that you get to a doctor for a proper health check. You might have symptoms of spinal stenosis. Our guide provides all the detailed information about spinal stenosis you need to know.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal Stenosis is a known condition which develops when one or more foramina, or bone openings, within the spine begins to constrict, leaving less room for the nerves. This process can occur in the intervertebral foramina, where spinal nerves leave the spinal canal, or in the spinal canal itself, where the spinal cord runs along the middle. A spinal nerve or the spinal cord may get compressed, resulting in pain, tingling, numbness, and/or weakness, depending on the location and degree of narrowing that develops over time.
Here are some of the most common causes of spinal stenosis:
- Aging: Due to aging, your spinal tissues begin to thicken, and bones get larger, often compressing your nerves.
- Congenital spinal stenosis: This condition occurs due to the birth defect in which the spinal canal is naturally
- constricted. Achondroplasia: Achondroplasia is a genetic condition that intervenes in your bone formation in the spinal cord and other parts of the body.
- Ankylosing spondylitis: This is a type of arthritis that may lead to chronic inflammation in the spine and often resist the growth of bones.
- Spinal injuries: Certain injuries like slipped discs and bone fractures may result in vertebral column or bone fragment putting pressure on the spinal nerves.
- Spinal tumors: Abnormal growth of spinal tissues in the spinal canal may engender inflammation and changes in the associated bones.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
Whenever the symptoms associated with spinal stenosis manifest, they initially begin mildly and then get worse since nerves become highly compressed. The location on the spine that is impacted determines the symptoms. Individuals with spinal stenosis have a wide range of symptoms but these are some of the most common.
- Lower back and neck ache: The pain could be subtle and confined to the neck or lower back, or it could be electric in nature and spread into the arms or legs. The ache can alter over time, possibly worsening during particular activities. Sometimes the pain is more of a stinging, prickling sensation. There may also be diminished sensation or complete numbness in the arm, leg, and/or other parts of the body.
- Bowel or bladder issues: Acute constriction in the spinal cord or cauda equina (nerve roots flowing beneath the spinal cord) may cause bowel and/or bladder issues.
Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis
There are several treatments options for spinal stenosis which may include,
- Medication: As a first line treatment, the doctor may prescribe medication to ease pain or cortisone injections to reduce swelling.
- Physical therapy: In various cases, doctors may prescribe physical therapy to strengthen your weak muscles
- Surgery: If you are experiencing severe symptoms, doctors recommend surgery to treat spinal stenosis. Laminectomy Foraminotomy and Spinal fusion are some of the most common surgical procedures prescribed.
Individuals with spinal stenosis may lead an active life if they effectively manage their symptoms by adjusting their routine lives and consulting a healthcare professional.
Spinal Stenosis is a tricky condition that can come with a wide variety of symptoms and treatment options. If you are experiencing any symptoms on this list, seek medical attention and advice to determine what the root cause is. If it is Spinal Stenosis, you have options!