SPINAL STENOSIS

The spine is a column of bones called vertebrae that provide support and stability to your upper body. It's what enables you to twist and turn. Spinal nerves run through openings in your vertebrae and conduct signals from your brain to the rest of your body and these nerves form your spinal cord. The surrounding bone and tissues protect the nerves in your spinal cord. If they’re damaged or impaired, it can affect functions such as walking, balance, and sensation. Spinal stenosis is a condition in which spaces in the spinal column narrow, compressing the spinal cord. This process is typically gradual. It can occur anywhere along the spine. If the narrowing is minimal, no symptoms will occur. Too much narrowing can compress your nerves and cause problems, that need to be treated before progressing.

What causes Spinal Stenosis?

The condition is commonly caused by wear-and-tear on the spine related to osteoarthritis. So, it’s more likely to happen as someone ages. But people with other types of  arthritis and related conditions that affect the spine may develop spinal stenosis. Younger people with a spine injury or a narrow spinal canal or people with scoliosis (an abnormal curve of the spine) are also at risk. A back or neck injury, a spinal tumor or having too much fluoride or calcium in the body can also make someone more likely to develop spinal stenosis. 

 

Who is at risk of developing Spinal Stenosis?


The risk of developing Spinal Stenosis increases in those who:

  • Are born with a narrow spinal canal

  • Are female

  • Are 50 years of age or older

  • Have had previous injury or surgery of the spine

Conditions that can cause Spinal Stenosis include:

  • Arthritis and bone spurs (osteophytes) associated with aging

  • Trauma

  • Previous surgery

  • Spinal tumors (rare)

 

How is it Treated?
Typically, spinal stenosis is treated with conservative non-surgical therapies. One important therapy is exercise. Keeping the muscles of the hip, back, and legs stretched and strengthened allows for improved stability and will improve walking. Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) also may be appropriate and helpful in pain relief. Cortisone injections into the area around the spinal cord, may provide temporary relief to people suffering from this disorder however, steroid shots do come with risks.

Under severe and rare circumstances, surgery may be an option if other treatments haven't helped. A popular surgery is a laminectomy where they remove the lamina of the vertebra and remove the build-up of bone spurs or increased bone mass in the spinal canal. This can free up space for the nerves and the spinal cord. However, the risks versus rewards should always be assessed and all conservative options should be exhausted first.

If Spinal Stenosis is caused or exacerbated by a herniated or bulging disc then Spinal Decompression may be very effective. Spinal Decompression creates a negative pressure inside of the discs which helps draw in herniations and bulges. Once these are drawn in the pressure is taken off of the nerves and the pain, numbness, and tingling will subside.

During your consultation, the physician will address which form of therapy will best benefit your diagnosis.

 

*Individual patient results may vary.

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