Spinal Stenosis Q & A
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the canal that runs through the inside your spine, reducing the space available for your spinal cord. You can be born with spinal stenosis or it can come on as you age. Spinal stenosis most often develops in either your cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower) spine, although it can appear anywhere in your spinal column.
What are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis causes a variety of symptoms, depending on the site of the narrowing. For example, if you have spinal stenosis in your lumbar spine, you could develop sciatica, including lower back pain as well as pain, numbness, and weakness that radiates through one or both of your legs. You could also experience claudication in your legs — cramping and aching when you spend a lot of time on your feet either walking or standing.
If you have spinal stenosis in your neck, you usually have neck pain that extends through your shoulders and potentially down your arms. You could also have weakness or tingling sensations in your arms or hands. Cervical spinal stenosis can also cause problems with your balance and your ability to walk. In rare cases, it can interfere with your bowel and bladder function.
How is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?
The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center diagnose spinal stenosis with a physical exam and imaging tests like X-rays and MRIs. They can also perform nerve conduction tests to rule out other conditions that could be causing your pain.
How is Spinal Stenosis Treated?
Your doctor works with you to implement a customized treatment plan to meet your specific needs. For example, you could benefit from physical therapy and medication to reduce inflammation in your spine, like steroid injections or oral anti-inflammatories.
In severe cases, when other treatments haven’t successfully relieved your pain, your doctor can suggest surgery like a laminectomy or laminotomy to create more space in your spine and relieve the pressure on your spinal cord.
You don’t have to put up with neck or back pain. If you have pain that lasts for more than a few days and doesn’t get better with rest, over-the-counter painkillers, and ice and heat, call the Comprehensive Pain Center office today.