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Spinal Stenosis | Types , Symptoms And Causes

An individual with spinal stenosis does not have enough space between the vertebrae of the spine. As a result of spinal stenosis, the spinal cord and nerves that run throughout the spine are compressed. The risk of spinal injuries is higher among women, people with narrow spinal canals, and those who have previously undergone spinal surgery or injuries. 

The symptoms of spinal stenosis may not always be evident in an individual suffering from the condition. A person suffering from spinal stenosis may experience pain, tingling, numbness, and weakness of the muscles. As the condition progresses, the symptoms may become worse and worse. Besides Paget's disease, spondyloarthritis, and spinal tumors are also possible causes of spinal stenosis. In addition to home treatments, spinal stenosis may require physical therapy, medication, or surgery to cure.

Where Spinal Stenosis Occurs?

  • In most cases, spinal stenosis occurs in the lower back (lumbar canal).

  • However, it is possible to develop it anywhere along the spine.

  • The cervical spine is affected by spinal stenosis. 

Types of Spinal Stenosis 

Three main types are given below: 

1: Central Spinal Stenosis: Central Stenosis happens when the central spinal canal is narrowed with an enlarged ligament and bony overgrowth. It is causing pressure on the cauda equina and spinal cord. Stenosis can take place in any area of the spine (cervical, thoracic, lumbar). It mainly occurs in the lumbar region. 

2: Lateral Recess Stenosis: Lateral recess stenosis takes place when the spinal nerve is constricted, just before it reaches the intervertebral foramen. Far lateral Stenosis occurs when the spinal nerve has before left the intervertebral foramen. 

3: Foraminal Stenosis: Foraminal Stenosis is the narrowing of the cervical disc space caused by the growth of a joint (the uncinate process) in the spinal canal. Most symptoms with this type of cervical spinal stenosis are commonly caused by one nerve root on one side.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Symptoms of early lumbar spinal stenosis may not be apparent. Symptoms typically develop gradually over time. The cauda equina syndrome can also be caused by pressure on nerves in the lumbar region. You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Dorsalgia

  • An increased level of numbness, tingling, cramping, or weakness in the legs 

  • Foot numbness Foot drop is a condition in which the feet slap down on the ground when walking. 

  • Sexual dysfunction Inability to control bowel or bladder movements

  • A feeling of numbness or tingling in the legs, inner thighs, and the back of the legs You may experience pain, weakness, or numbness in your legs, calves, or buttocks 

  • Symptoms of sciatica that radiate into the legs or thighs, similar to the common term "sciatica" 

  • Sitting, lying down, or bending forward may alleviate pain

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

As we age, we develop spinal stenosis. During aging, your spine's tissues may thicken and your bones may grow, causing the nerves to become compressed. 

  • Herniated Discs

In between the vertebrae of your spine, soft discs absorb shocks. Parts of the soft inner material of the disc may leak out, which may compress nerves or the spinal cord. 

  • Thick ligaments

The strong cords that hold the spine bones together can lead to stiffness and thickening over time. Spinal canal can be pushed by thick ligaments.

  • Achondroplasia

The condition of achondroplasia interferes with the formation of bone in the spine and other body parts. 

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis

Associated with chronic inflammation in the spine, ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis. Bone spurs can result from this condition. 

  • Congenital Spinal Stenosis 

A congenital spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal canal is naturally narrow and you are born with the condition.

  • Bone Spurs

The spine can grow extra bone as a result of the wear and tear caused by arthritis. A bone spur is a type of bone growth. They can compress the spine. Additionally, Paget's disease results in the growth of additional bone in the spine.

  • Paget’s Disease of the Bone 

Paget’s disease of the bone is a chronic condition that causes bones to weaken and grow, resulting in deformities and fractures. 

  • Scoliosis

Scoliosis occurs whenever the spine curves abnormally. A genetic condition, a neurological disorder, or an unknown cause can cause this condition.

  • Spinal Injuries

A spinal fracture or displacement can occur as a result of an automobile accident or another type of trauma. The swelling of nearby tissues may also result in an enlarged spinal cord or nerves following back surgery. Tumors may affect the spine, causing inflammation and structural changes to the surrounding bones.

  • Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

A person suffering from osteoarthritis has lost the cartilage that cushions the joints as a result of a breakdown of the cartilage. An individual with this condition may experience cartilage damage between the vertebrae as well as bone spurs in the spine. The disease of rheumatoid arthritis involves chronic inflammation that damages bones and causes bone spurs.

What Is The Treatment For Spinal Stenosis? 

Many healthcare professionals can assist you if you suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis. Physical therapists, arthritis specialists, nerve specialists, and surgeons are among these professionals. With the help of Dr Ali Pain Management, you will experience significant reductions in your level of pain, whether it is acute or chronic. Among the treatment options available are physical therapy, medication, and surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatment

  • Treatment of osteoarthritis pain typically involves the application of heat. Heat increases blood flow, relaxes muscles, and relieves joint pain. 

  • Put the ice on for 20 minutes, then remove it for 20 minutes and repeat the process. The application of ice reduces inflammation, swelling, and tenderness. 

  • Strengthening your abdominal and back muscles can help to strengthen your spine. Physical therapists can help you learn how to walk so that the spinal canal is open, thereby decreasing pressure on your nerves. 

  • Some people may also benefit from acupuncture and chiropractic treatment.

  • Additionally, medicines such as steroidal hormone injections and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories may reduce swelling and pain.

Surgical Treatment

This treatment involves the removal of bone spurs and the widening of the space between the vertebrae. 

The surgical procedures for spinal stenosis may include:

  • Foraminotomy

A foramen is the opening through which nerve roots leave the vertebrae. This procedure involves removing bone or tissue to make room for nerve roots. 

  • Laminectomy

This procedure involves the removal of the affected spinal bone from its back portion (the lamina). Having more space for the nerves relieves pressure on them. There may be a need for bone grafts and metal hardware to connect that bone to nearby spinal bones.

  • Laminotomy

This operation only removes a small part of the lamina, not the entire one. To relieve pressure in a specific area, the surgeon creates a small opening.

  • Laminoplasty

The procedure involves only the operation of the neck and spinal bones. A hinge is created on the lamina to widen the spinal canal. Metal hardware connects the open spine sections.

Contacting A Physician When Necessary

In case of any symptoms of spinal stenosis, you should consult your pain doctor in Dallas. The more severe the symptoms are, the more important it is to consult a physician about them. 

  • Walking with difficulty or poor balance

  •  Your limbs are numb and weaker

  •  Inability to control urine or bowel movements 

  • Having difficulty urinating or passing stools

Premier Pain Centers - A Note of Information

Most individuals with spinal stenosis can lead active and fulfilling lives. Your exercise routine or other daily activities may need to be adjusted to manage your symptoms. For the relief of pain and other symptoms, pain physicians in Dallas may prescribe medications, physical therapy, or surgical procedures. The presence of residual pain may persist even after surgical treatment. Your doctor can provide you with more information regarding treatment options and the outlook for your spinal stenosis. Experts in pain management in Dallas, such as Dr. Ali and Dr. Z, have gained recognition for providing long-term relief from spinal stenosis.

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.