Spinal stenosis is a condition where the nerves of the spine are pressed upon because the normal spaces of the spine are narrowed. This causes pressure to the nerves. It is like having a shoe that is too tight. No wonder it can cause so much pain! Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck. The interesting thing is, some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms.
What causes spinal stenosis?
There are many causes for stenosis. It could be due to a herniated or bulging disc. It could be caused by arthritis of the facet joints (link facet) that can cause narrowing. It can be caused by thickened ligaments. Most commonly, it is caused by some combination of the three. In more rare cases, it can be caused by tumors or infections. Some people are born with more narrow canals, and are more susceptible to the stenosis.
What are the signs and symptoms?
- Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg.
- Pain in the neck or back
- Problems with walking and balance.
- Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg.
- In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)
What can be done?
Typically, we start patients in physical therapy to start stretching and strengthening exercises in the combination of over the counter medications. The next step is typically epidural steroid injections which can help mitigate the pain and improve the symptoms. In some cases, we must decompress the spine, this can be done with minimally invasive procedures, but sometimes will require larger surgeries.
If you or someone you know is suffering from spinal stenosis, set up an appointment with Dr. Verma to see what treatment options are available for you!