Spinal stenosis is a condition in which one or more spaces in the spine narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord or surrounding nerves. Not all people with spinal narrowing experience symptoms, so the term spinal stenosis actually refers to the symptoms caused by this narrowing as opposed to the narrowing itself. There are two main types of spinal stenosis: cervical stenosis, which is caused by a narrowing in the spine near the neck, and lumbar spinal stenosis, which is caused by narrowing of the spine in the lower back. Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common type of spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Causes
While some people are born with smaller than normal spinal canals, most cases of spinal stenosis occur as the result of something narrowing the space in the spinal canal. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, and anyone over the age of 50 is at risk of getting this condition. As individuals age, the discs in their back become less spongy. The loss of disc height can lead to bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs and the thickening of ligaments. All of these factors can contribute to the narrowing of the spinal canal. Other less common causes are tumors and spinal injuries.
Recognizing the Symptoms
For many patients, spinal stenosis symptoms start slowly and worsen over time. The most common complaints from patients with spinal stenosis are of severe pain in the legs, calves or lower back when standing or walking. This pain is often relieved by sitting down or leaning over.
That said, symptoms vary from patient to patient and are largely dependent on the location and severity of the patient’s stenosis. Common symptoms for cervical spinal stenosis include neck pain; numbness or tingling in hands, arms, feet or legs; difficulty walking or balancing; and bladder issues or incontinence. Patients with lumbar spinal stenosis often experience back pain; numbness or tingling in feet or legs; weakness in legs or feet; or cramping in legs while walking or standing.
Treating Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis treatments vary widely based on a number of factors including the location of the stenosis, its severity and the symptoms experienced. Common treatment options include physical therapy, occupational therapy and lifestyle modifications. For many patients, exercise is extremely important as it helps to keep muscles strong, improve flexibility, increase strength and decrease pain.
Additionally, some patients benefit from minimally invasive procedures, including frequency treatment. Further, Vertiflex Superion is a cutting-edge, minimally-invasive treatment that provides relief for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis. Vertiflex Superion is an FDA-approved treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis, and Glaser Pain Relief Center is one of the few places in the Los Angeles area where patients can receive this treatment. Surgery is only recommended in the rare cases where it is absolutely necessary.
If you’re suffering from spinal stenosis or experiencing neck and back pain, contact Glaser Pain Relief Center to schedule a consultation and to learn more about what you can do to get relief.