Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

How To Identify And Deal With Spinal Stenosis

How To Identify And Deal With Spinal Stenosis

Do you experience burning sensations in your neck, shoulders, or arms? What about tingling, or numbness in your hands? If so, then you may have spinal stenosis. 

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs when the space inside your spine narrows. This narrowing will trap and put uncomfortable pressure against your nerves, and most often occurs in the lower back and the neck.

There are two branching ways that the spine can put pressure on nerves. 

The first branch is the spinal cord itself collapsing, most often caused by osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis wears down the discs between vertebrae and the vertebral body itself. Otherwise known as ‘the wear and tear’ disease, osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder in the United States. Collapsing can also occur with herniated discs, trauma to the spine from accidents, and a malformed spine from scoliosis.

The other branch involves some element inside the cord expanding to push against the nerves. This can take the form of a spinal tumor, bone spurs—which are common in people over 60—and the strong ligaments in your back thickening with age. 

Spinal Stenosis Risk and Symptoms

Most cases of spinal stenosis occur in people over 50, and women are at a higher risk than men. The symptoms include pain, numbness, and weakness typically located in the lower back and neck. This pain can either be dull or it can be electric-like and spread to the legs and arms. 

However, spinal stenosis may have no symptoms, so if you have had spine trauma of any kind, you may want to ask your doctor for an MRI.

Severe, untreated cases of spinal stenosis can result in permanent numbness, stiffness, or paralysis. 

Spinal Stenosis Treatment

While there is no cure for spinal stenosis, it can be treated in a variety of ways. 

If you have stenosis because of inflammation in your ligaments or the tissue surrounding your spinal nerves, anti-inflammatory medications can reduce pain and swelling. When taking these medications, it is important to remember that temporary relief is not a sign of permanent stenosis reversal.

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Extreme spinal stenosis will cause loss of bowel and bladder control, leg pain and weakness that makes it difficult to move, and numbness on the upper leg and thigh. If you have any of these symptoms, contact a healthcare provider immediately. 

In such extreme cases, spinal stenosis may require surgery. But before you go this route, first try to find minimally invasive ways to control your pain.

This surgery typically serves one of three purposes: 

  1. To stabilize the lower back by fusing the vertebrae
  2. To remove bone spurs
  3. To widen the space between vertebrae

These operations vary in terms of their invasiveness and chances of success.

While spinal stenosis surgery can be minimally invasive, it is important to research your options ahead of time to ensure your best outcomes.

At Accelerated Interventional Orthopedics, we offer hope—and natural remedies—to those suffering from spinal stenosis. If you’re suffering from spinal stenosis, come see Dr. Rich and his team before you try pain medications or surgery.

Key Takeaways

  1. Spinal stenosis is a common ailment with effects that range from discomfort to paralysis.
  2. Strengthen and stretch the muscles in your back, legs, and stomach.
  3. Commit to anti-inflammatory medication to see consistent pain reduction. 
  4. Carefully consider surgery options, but before committing, try minimally invasive options.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Key Benefits of Interspinous Fusion

Spinal stenosis can cause significant pain and interfere with your quality of life. If you still have pain after trying nonsurgical therapies, maybe it’s time to consider surgical options.

Four Common Causes of Chronic Knee Pain

Knee pain can begin gradually at first and evolve into persistent discomfort that starts to interfere with your life. Rely on a knee specialist to get things back on track so that you can get back to living fully.

Radiofrequency Ablation for Pain Management

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to treat painful nerves. Treatment can help you get relief from pain caused by chronic conditions such as arthritis.

Common Causes of Pinched Nerves

Most of the time, the pain of a pinched nerve is short-lived. When it persists, your best option is to see an orthopedic specialist who can diagnose and treat your pain.