What Is Spinal Stenosis
Let’s learn about Spinal Stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of spaces in the spine (backbone) that results in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots, possibly both. This disorder usually involves the narrowing of one or more of three areas of the spine: (1) the canal in the center of the column of bones (vertebral or spinal column) through which the spinal cord and nerve roots run, (2) the canals at the base or roots of nerves branching out from the spinal cord, or (3) the openings between vertebrae (bones of the spine) through which nerves leave the spine and go to other parts of the body. This narrowing may involve a small or large area of the spine. Pressure on the lower part of the spinal cord or on nerve roots branching out from that area may give rise to pain or numbness in the legs.
Anyone can get or have spinal stenosis. We typically see spinal stenosis in men and women between the ages of 40-60. Spinal stenosis is often caused by natural aging. A small percentage of spinal stenosis patients are born with the condition. Spinal stenosis can be treated in several different ways, which we’ll discuss later in this article. We see Spinal Stenosis more in men then women. In this article, we’re going to explore types of Spinal Stenosis, symptoms, causes and treatments.
Spinal Stenosis Types
You learned that spinal stenosis can occur in one or more areas of the spine. Now, we’ll discuss a few of the most common types of spinal stenosis.
Foraminal Stenosis Foraminal Stenosis is the most common type of spinal stenosis. Foraminal Stenosis can occur in any region of the spine. This type of stenosis is caused when a nerve root is compressed when leaving the spinal canal, through a hole known as the lateral foramen. The compression is usually caused by bone spur, disc herniation or even scar tissue or a fragment of cartilage. The compression of the nerve root is where your pain is caused.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Lumbar Spinal Stenosis when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerves, which travel from the lower back into the legs. It can sometimes be found in young people but is more usually a condition caused by the ageing process, when the facet joints degenerate and the inververtebral discs also suffer wear and tear. With age the discs become far less spongy and may protrude into the spinal canal.
Cervical Stenosis Cervical Stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord. Cervical Stenosis refers to the upper part of the back, as opposed to lumbar, which is in the lower region of the spine.
Spinal Stenosis Causes
We briefly discussed that Spinal Stenosis can be caused by genetics or we can acquire the condition. Let’s take a look at some of the common acquired causes of Spinal Stenosis.
The ageing process is the gateway to Spinal Stenosis. As we age and get older, the body begins to break down. Due to this, degenerative conditions are the leading causes of this condition. When we age, the body gradually goes through changes. The bones, joints and ligaments that make up your spine can change and/or get inflamed. In most cases that we see, when one part of the spine is altered, it can effect other areas of the spine.
Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra slips forward on another. Your vertebrae should be perfectly aligned when normal. Any type of misalignment can cause you pain if the nerve roots are disturbed. Both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis can lead to Spinal Stenosis. All these conditions are degenerative conditions. Both are chronic conditions that can wear away the surface cartilage layer of your joints. Overgrowth of bone usually follows , forming of bone spurs also. Tumors and a long term condition known as Paget’s Disease can also lead to Spinal Stenosis, although both are not associated to degenerative conditions.
Trauma is another cause of Spinal Stenosis. Trauma can cause a lot of different issues to your spine. Any type of trauma to your spinal canal is enough to cause Spinal Stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Most men and women will have Spinal Stenosis symptoms. These symptoms can be non-existent, minor or daily. In most male and female patients, Spinal Stenosis symptoms get worse. The majority of your symptoms will depend on the type of stenosis you have. Cervical Stenosis can cause pain, numbness, weakness or tingling in a leg, foot, arm or hand. In severe cases, nerves to the bladder or bowel may be affected, leading to incontinence(trouble using the bathroom).
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis can cause pain or cramping in your legs when you stand for long periods of time or when you walk. The discomfort usually eases when you bend forward or sit down. Again, as time passes, the pain and symptoms can get worse.
Spinal Stenosis does have risk factors. In severe cases, paralysis can occur, along with incontinence, weakness and numbness. Many have reported only pain in the legs and arms rather then the back. If you can sit down and feel relief from your pain, this is a common sign that you may have Spinal Stenosis. Sitting down opens the spinal column. It doesn’t define that you have it, just the possibility that it can likely be this condition.
Spinal Stenosis Diagnostics
Treating and diagnosing Spinal Stenosis is not easy, it can be difficult. Spinal Stenosis mirrors the natural ageing process. More then likely, you’re going to need imaging test to accurately diagnose Spinal Stenosis. A MRI will likely be ordered to determine if you have this condition. A MRI can actually see if there is pressure on your spinal cord. A CT Scan could also be used. CT Scans give you several perspectives from all angles. X-rays may be used, possibly to rule out other conditions.
Spinal Stenosis Treatments
There’s a variety of different treatments for Spinal Stenosis. Your doctor will have to determine this. Medications are a common treatment for Spinal Stenosis. The type of medications will depend on your doctor. NSAID’s, Opioids and Muscle Relaxants may be prescribed. A nerve medication could also be used to treat this condition.
Steroid Injections are another common method of treatment for Spinal Stenosis. For one, you may have pinched nerve roots. These areas can be inflamed, causing more pressure on the nerve. A corticosteroid injection can help.
Physical Therapy may be ordered by your doctor. There’s several benefits to physical therapy. Physical therapy is going to help you keep your spine strong, mobile and flexible. Probably more then you may think, this can relieve pressure and stress on the spine. In hence, relieving your pain.
The Doctor’s Back Pain System is a natural pain treatment used to relieve pain caused by Spinal Stenosis. This Spinal Stenosis treatment was developed and created by Dr. Jason Hurst. If other Spinal Stenosis treatments have failed you, this is one that we personally recommend for you.
Surgery can be another option for you. Surgery is often introduced when all other treatments have failed. You always have risk with surgery. Spinal Stenosis surgery has helped some people and others have reported feeling the same or worse. Again, this is an option you and your doctor should discuss.
Spinal Stenosis Pain
You know your body better then anyone ever will. Never ignore your pain. This is your body telling you that something is wrong. If you feel that you may have Spinal Stenosis after reading this article, we recommend that you talk to your doctor immediately. Don’t be afraid of trying new treatments. We all react to treatment differently. The key is finding a treatment that works for you and allows you to go on living a healthy life, one without pain.