Did you know that your spinal canal has a network of nerves that runs via a channel formed by your spines? So, the track is the spinal canal. Your spinal cord is susceptible to several complications, one of which is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. As stenosis refers to narrowing, it places stress on your spinal canal and the surrounding nerves. Though this can impact any part of your backbone, it explicitly affects your lower spine, also known as the lumbar region. So, this article will focus on Lumbar Stenosis Treatment.
Five lumbar vertebrae link your upper backbone to your pelvis. And if you suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis, you may have a problem walking or have to lean forward to release pressure on your lower spine. You may also feel pain or impassiveness in your legs. However, you even find it challenging to regulate your bowel movements and bladder control in more critical cases. Though there is no cure for this problem, there are still several treatment options available.
What are the Causes?
The most prevalent cause of spinal stenosis is arthritis, a gradual deterioration of your joints over time. Vertebral stenosis is common as arthritis begins to modify people’s backbone by the age of 50 years. It is why the most common age group for this problem is above 50 years. Also, facts show that females have a greater risk of developing this ailment as compared to men.
Apart from arthritis, the other conditions that can contribute to the development of stenosis include:
- Contraction of Spinal Canal
- Spinal Injury
- Spinal Tumour
- Specific Bone Disorders
- Former Spine Surgery
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
What are the Symptoms?
Lumbar stenosis might not reveal symptoms in the early stages. However, in the majority of people, the symptoms may develop eventually with time. Some common symptoms include:
- Burning Sensation that travels all through the buttocks and thighs
- Impassiveness, stinging, cramping, or muscle weakness
- Loss of Sensation
- Foot Weakness that causes foot drop
- Loss of Sexual Capacity
However, if you feel pressure on your nerves in the lumbar region, it may lead to more acute symptoms like cauda equine condition. So, if you undergo any of these signs, you should immediately visit a pain center:
- Incapacity to control your bowel or bladder movements.
- Severe or growing numbness in your legs, thighs, and backside of the legs.
- Intense pain and weakness that binges into your legs. So, you may have difficulty walking or standing up.
How to Diagnose This Disorder?
If you feel any symptoms, you should immediately schedule an appointment with an accredited consultant. The doctor will discuss your symptoms and perform a thorough physical examination. The physician will try to detect signs of lumbar stenosis like impassiveness, weakness, and unusual impulses during the study.
After this, your doctor may recommend you the following imaging tests:
X-ray of Your Lumbar Region
An x-ray will help your doctor detect any osteophytes (bone growths) that are disturbing your spinal nerves and contracting the spinal canal.
Computed Tomography (CT) Scan or Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a more in-depth spinal canal and nerve arrangements scenario.
Your doctor may request a bone scan, myelogram, or an electrical test of muscle activity (EMG).
How is it Treated?
If you suffer from stenosis of the lumbar region, several categories of doctors can assist you. So, you may visit an arthritis consultant, nerve specialist, surgeon, or physiotherapist. Therefore, the treatments might encompass physiotherapy, pain relief medication, and even surgery. In emergency cases like cauda equina syndrome, discectomy surgery is the eventual solution.
Physiotherapy may encompass workouts that help strengthen your backbone, abdomen, and leg muscles. So, experts will teach you how to perform the activity safely, use braces to support your spine, practice stretching, and perform massage therapy.
It is common in spinal stenosis patients to become less active, as it helps regulate pain. However, it can lead to muscle weakness, which may cause more pain. But a physiotherapist can teach you valuable exercises that may support in:
- Shaping Strength and Fortitude
- Maintain Spinal Flexibility and Stability
- Enhance Balance
Medication may encompass non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory medicine that relieves pain and inflammation. While the steroid shots may help diminish swelling.
Your healthcare professional might also prescribe:
Pain Relief Medication
Pain relief medications like ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen help normalize the discomfort associated with backbone stenosis. However, doctors recommend temporary use as long-term use may have side effects.
Daily doses of antidepressants can help comfort the intense pain.
Your doctor may recommend anti-seizure drugs to diminish the pain associated with impaired nerves of the backbone.
Drugs that feature codeine-related drugs are effective for short-term pain relief. However, these need to be considered warily for long-term use as they can cause serious side effects. Also, it may become a habit.
The surgical procedures may include microdiscectomy spine surgery that helps cut off osteophytes and broaden the space among the vertebrae. It may help stabilize the lower spine by fusing a few vertebrae. However, you must discuss common problems after spinal fusion beforehand with your doctor.
Surgery is usually preferred if other treatments have failed or if symptoms have disabled you. The surgery aims to release the pressure on your spinal canal and nerves by generating more space within the spinal channel. So, decompressing the spinal region (through surgery) is the ideal approach to treat symptoms.
Studies show that if a qualified surgeon performs the surgery, there are fewer chances of complications. So, you should always discuss your surgeon’s experience of performing stenosis surgeries. And if you are not satisfied, get a second opinion.
Which Surgeries Do Experts Recommend?
Some of the endorsed surgeries that help treat spinal stenosis encompass:
This process helps remove the back region (lamina) of the problematic vertebrae. Also known as decompression surgery, it reduces the stress on nerves by generating more space. However, in a few cases, the vertebrae might have to be connected to the attached vertebrae using metal hardware and spinal fusion to help maintain backbone strength.
This process cuts off only a slice of the lamina, typically carving a hole just large enough to relieve pressure in a specific spot.
Doctors perform this surgery on the cervical spine.
It unlocks the space within the spinal canal by forming a hinge on the lamina. And the metal hardware bridges the gap in the disclosed section of the backbone.
4- Minimally Invasive Surgery
If we compare discectomy vs. microdiscectomy, you will know that microdiscectomy uses minimally invasive surgery techniques to remove bone or lamina in a manner that decreases the damage to the adjacent healthy tissues. So, this reduces the chance of spinal fusions.
So, spinal fusions are a practical approach to stabilize the backbone and diminish pain. However, you can lessen the possible risk of post-surgery issues like pain and inflammation by evading them. Besides, the minimally invasive surgical approach promises little herniated disc surgery recovery time.
In majority situations, these space-generating surgeries help diminish spinal stenosis symptoms. However, for some patients, the symptoms continue or even worsen. Other risks associated with surgeries include infection, the ripped membrane that shields the spinal canal, blood clots, and neural deterioration.
Apart from this, acupuncture and chiropractic care are also effective treatments.
How to Prevent This Condition?
As most people may develop osteoarthritis by the age of 50 years, it is not practically possible to prevent lumbar stenosis. However, you can make an effort to lower the risk. Here is how you can do it and keep your backbone in a healthy state:
1- Exercising Regularly
A daily workout can help strengthen the muscles that support your lower spine and keeps your backbone flexible. The recommended exercises for your backbone include walking, swimming, pedaling, and weight exercise.
2- Preserve Good Posture
You should learn to know how to lift bulky items carefully. Also, sleeping on a firm bed and choosing a chair that supports your natural posture can be quite helpful.
3- Weight Management
Being overweight places more pressure on your backbone and can develop and worsen the symptoms of stenosis.
How to Live with This Ailment?
The ideal way to manage your stenosis is to have sound knowledge about your disease, work diligently with the medical squad, and perform an active part in your treatment. You should adopt measures that help to keep your spine as healthy as possible. You will find the recommendations above. If you religiously follow these, herniated disc surgery recovery will become flawless.
You may also try conventional home remedies like ice therapy, heat therapy, massage therapy, or even hot showers. Besides, intake of nutritional supplements helps treat arthritis. So, you should discuss with your medical expert as to which supplements to include in your diet. An insight into alternative treatments or medication can also prove helpful.
Premier Pain Center
So, if you notice any of the health problems (mentioned above), you should schedule an appointment with the specialist. Premier Pain Center offers world-leading surgeons and pain specialists to promise the best spinal treatment.
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