The spinal canal is one of the most important parts of human anatomy as it consists of the spinal cord and nerves that run throughout the body to deliver commands that help different body parts perform their function. It is therefore, imperative for you to ensure you keep your spine safe from injuries and in tip top condition. One significant barrier in achieving this objective is spinal stenosis.
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis happens when spinal canals located in the center of the column of bones, or those situated at the base of nerve roots, narrow abnormally. This can result in neurological disorders such as blackouts, weakness, numbness, and other movement disorders. Two of the most popular variants of this health disorder are lumbar stenosis and cervical stenosis.
Spinal stenosis can be triggered due to one or more of the following factors
- Old age: Spinal health may deteriorate with old age characterized by damaging of ligaments, disks, and creation of spurs. All of these factors can result in spinal stenosis
- Tumors: Abnormal growth of tissue may displace certain bones and interfere with the functioning of the spinal cord
- Injuries: Smashed bones due to an accident can penetrate the canal and result in the health condition
- Structural deformity: Individuals born with a small spinal canal are at high risk of developing this problem at an earlier stage in their life
Discuss these and other spinal stenosis causes with a doctor today and get advice on keeping a healthy spine.
Some of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- 94 percent of patients complain of pain, and lack of stamina when standing
- Around 78 percent experience pain in upper body parts such as arms, shoulders, and hands
- Around 63 percent and 43 percent of patients complain of numbness and weakness in the affected area respectively
- Some patients also suffer from pain in lower body parts such as buttocks and thighs
Spinal stenosis can be tricky to diagnose as the symptoms can be triggered due to other health issues. To know more about the patient’s condition and confirm if the symptoms are due to spinal stenosis, doctors usually conduct one or more of the tests below.
- First and foremost, the specialist studies the patient’s medical history to learn about their spinal health
- Doctors also conduct a series of physical examinations to check the ease with which the patient can perform light exercises that involve the extension of the spine. Pain and numbness in the arms and the legs are potential red flags
- The specialist may also prescribe different tests such as X-ray, MRI, CAT, Myelogram, and bone scan to ascertain the patient’s condition
Doctors may resort to one or all of the following procedures to treat patients suffering from spinal stenosis.
- Specialists often direct patients to lean forward while walking or draw their knees up to the chest while lying down. Following these posture patterns can increase the space between the nerves, therefore, elevating pain
- Doctors may also prescribe NSAIDs, Analgesics, Corticosteroid, and Anesthetic injections to avoid inflammation of muscles and help patients get rid of pain
- Some specialists prescribe rest followed by aerobic exercises such as riding an exercise bicycle, swimming, and walking
If these non-surgical spinal stenosis treatment methods don’t yield any significant results, doctors may recommend spinal stenosis surgery that involves removing or decompressing the diseased parts (ligaments and bones) causing pressure on the nerves.
Don’t go without help
Patients who experience one or more of the above symptoms need to talk to their doctor immediately. Turning a blind eye to the symptoms can result in various health complications such as permanent numbness and weakness in the affected area, incontinence, and even paralysis (in extreme cases). Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Centre specialize in treating spinal stenosis and other degenerative diseases of the spine. Contact us today at 1-888-608-4762 or leave your details to fix an appointment and learn more about steps you can take to strengthen your spine.