WHAT IS SPINAL STENOSIS?
Spinal Stenosis is defined as the narrowing of the nerves on the spinal cord often times due to compression. This ailment occurs most often in the neck and lower back, though it can also occur in the mid-back. No matter where stenosis occurs, it can lead to dysfunction in the body’s ability to carry messages from the brain to the musculoskeletal system. Patients may lose function with a blocked neural pathway.
If disrupted over extended period of time it can result in permanent loss of function. For instance, stenosis in the neck region can produce a condition known as cervical myelopathy, which causes difficulty walking and/or loss of fine finger movement in the hands. If left untreated, in long-standing cases, it may lead to permanent inability to walk or ambulate.
WHAT CAUSES SPINAL STENOSIS?
Spinal Stenosis can occur as an age-related arthritic process, acute injury, spinal tumor or any number of processes which may lead to compression of the nerve tissue in the spine. Additionally, if you have suffered a Slip & Fall or Motor Vehicle Accident, and believe you may be suffering from spinal stenosis, please contact us to schedule an appointment.
WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO HAVE SPINAL STENOSIS?
The symptoms most commonly associated with spinal stenosis are as follows:
- Arm or leg pain
- Arm or leg weakness
- Muscle atrophy
- Arm or leg numbness and tingling
- Difficulty walking a distance
- Difficulty performing fine movements with the hands
- Loss of balance
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
The range and diversity of these symptoms are contingent on the severity of the narrowing of the associated nerves.
HOW DO YOU DIAGNOSE SPINAL STENOSIS?
The first step to properly diagnosing spinal stenosis is by obtaining a medical history. This history may include your physician asking about your signs and symptoms and conducting a physical examination. Moreover, imaging studies, if needed, may definitively ascertain the condition. To learn more about what imaging studies may be right for you, click here.
HOW DO YOU TREAT SPINAL STENOSIS?
Generally, it is advised to have conservative care as a first line treatment option for most spinal related conditions. This may include but not limited to physical therapy, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen or naproxen), therapeutic cervical traction, chiropractic care, and epidural steroid injections.
Nevertheless, when conservative methods fail to improve patient’s symptoms or the patient’s condition is too severe to treat conservatively due to jeopardy of nerve injury, then surgical treatment options are recommended.