Spinal stenosis is a condition which many Americans face. It’s most common in those over the age of 50 but can occur in younger people as well. It often results in pain and numbness in the spine. Spinal stenosis is often a symptom of some bigger issue going on in the spine, and it’s important to determine what this issue is in order to come up with a treatment plan. If you’re wondering you may have spinal stenosis, here are some symptoms to be aware of, as well as what treatments can help.
What is spinal stenosis?
The spinal column is made up of bones, cartilage disks, and a bundle of nerves. The bones and cartilage are stacked, one on the other, comprising the length of the spine. The bones that make up the spine have a portion that has a hole, called the foramina. It is through the foramina that the bundle of nerves that makes up the spinal cord fits through. Normally, the nerves have plenty of space within these holes. However, spinal stenosis occurs when these holes become smaller.
Spinal stenosis occurs with several different back conditions. Spinal osteoarthritis is one condition in which sufferers may develop spinal stenosis. Spinal deformities can also lead to spinal stenosis. Another condition which predisposes one to spinal stenosis is degenerative disc disease.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
There are several symptoms associated with spinal stenosis. The first of these is pain, which can either be a dull, tingly, or sharp pain. The sharp pain is often experienced as a feeling of electricity traveling up your spine or an arm or leg. Tingling and numbness may occur in the extremities or other parts of the body. One might also experience weakness in one or more body parts. Finally, in extreme cases, bowel or bladder function may be compromised.
Treatment for spinal stenosis
In mild cases, physical or occupational therapy and learning techniques for avoiding the pain may help, along with pain medication when needed. For other situations, one might need more help. One example is the Vertiflex Superion, a promising and relatively new treatment that can provide relief. Read more about this treatment here.
More drastic action might be needed for extreme cases, such as when bladder or bowel function is affected. But the good news for the majority of people is that back surgery is usually not necessary.
If you are experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis or any of the conditions associated with it, seek out help from a doctor. Besides, a pain management specialist can help with treatment options as well as easing of symptoms.