If you suffer from spinal stenosis, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.
What is spinal stenosis?
When the space inside the backbone is too small, spinal stenosis occurs. This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves and most often occurs in the lower back and neck.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
People with spinal stenosis often have no symptoms. Symptoms of spinal stenosis begin slowly and worsen over time. Symptoms depend on which part of the spine is affected.
Spinal stenosis in the lower back
- Pain or cramping in one or both legs-This happens when you stand for a long time or when you walk
- Symptoms that get better when you bend forward or sit
- Back pain
Spinal stenosis in the neck
- Tingling or weakness in a hand, leg, foot, or arm
- Problems with walking and balance
- Neck pain
- Problems with the bowel or bladder
What causes spinal stenosis?
The vertebrae make up the spine and stack on top of each other from the skull to the tailbone. These bones protect the spinal cord, which runs through an opening called the spinal canal.
Most spinal stenosis occurs when something happens to reduce the amount of open space within the spine.
- Bone spurs-Paget’s diseases or wear-and-tear damage from arthritis can cause an extra bone to grow on the spine. Bone spurs can push into the spinal canal.
- Herniated discs
- Thick ligaments-The strong cords that help hold the bones of your spine together can become stiff and thick over time. Thick ligaments can push into the spinal canal.
- Tumors- When tumors form inside the spinal cord, they can put pressure on the surrounding nerves. This is rare but still possible.
- Spinal injuries-Car accidents, tough falls, and other trauma can cause spinal bones to break or move out of place.
- Surgery- Swelling of nearby tissue right after back surgery also can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
What are the treatments for spinal stenosis?
Your health care provider might prescribe:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Antidepressants- Nightly doses of tricyclic antidepressants can help ease chronic pain.
- Anti-seizure drugs- Some anti-seizure drugs can reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
An anti-inflammatory medicine — a steroid or corticosteroid -helps reduce inflammation and relieve some of the pain from where your nerve roots are irritated.
Injecting corticosteroids into the needed area t will not provide permanent relief on its own, however, it can dramatically reduce inflammation and pain. The effects can last anywhere between 1 week to 1 year. In some patients, steroid injections can reduce pain to the point where patients are able to participate in Physical Therapy, which in turn can strengthen the surrounding muscles and eliminate the need for further treatment.
Physical therapists diagnose and treat patients with medical problems or injuries that limit their ability to participate in their daily lives. Patients will usually see a physical therapist after a referral by their primary physician. Physical therapists work with patients who have experienced an injury or disease that has affected their movement and range of motion.