The spinal canal is a hollow passageway that houses and protects the spinal cord. A good analogy of the spinal cord and spinal canal is a drinking straw in its wrapper. The wrapper protects and houses the straw. Picture the straw as your spinal cord and the straw wrapper as the spinal canal. Now you have a better idea of the difference between the spinal cord and the spinal canal. Narrowing or restriction of the spinal canal results in spinal stenosis. Some examples of these restrictions are herniated discs, thickening of ligaments in the spinal canal, and bone spurs growing into the canal. Your orthopedic spine physician will determine the treatment for spinal stenosis based on the severity of your signs and symptoms, and the location of your spinal stenosis. If you are diagnosed with spinal stenosis in your lower back, it is called lumbar spinal stenosis. The participating physicians of the Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center treat various spinal disorders including lumbar spinal stenosis.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Some symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include leg pain, pain or numbness in one or both legs, persistent buttocks pain, loss of bladder or bowel control, tingling that radiates from the lower back into the buttocks and legs, limping, and difficulty walking short distances, but is relieved by a brief rest.
Spinal Stenosis Non-surgical Treatment
Spinal stenosis non-surgical treatment may include but is not limited to:
- Medications – non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some common NSAIDs available over-the-counter are ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil, IBU). Muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, anti-seizure drugs, and opioids are all medications that may reduce pain.
- Physical therapy – Some people with spinal stenosis tend to become less active due to pain. That can lead to muscle weakness resulting in more pain. Physical therapy may help you build up strength and endurance, maintain the flexibility of your spine, and improve your balance.
- Aerobic conditioning – Exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing if you have lumbar spinal stenosis; however, exercise, stretching, and movement may actually help relieve your pain.
- Epidural steroid injections (ESI) – An ESI delivers steroid medication directly around the area that is causing lower back pain and/or leg pain.
Surgical Stenosis Treatment
Surgical treatments are available for lumbar spinal stenosis; however, non-surgical treatments are the first course of action. For pain that fails to improve with conservative treatment, spinal decompression surgery to enlarge the spinal canal may be recommended. Another stenosis surgery is interspinous spacer placement to provide the necessary space for nerves to function without pain. Your orthopedic spine physician will determine the best type of treatment for you.
At Texas Health Spine & Orthopedic Center, the physicians who are members for the referral line are in their respective fields. They offer highly individualized care as well as advanced treatments. If you are experiencing any of the above spinal stenosis symptoms, call us today at 1-888-608-4762 or click here to schedule an appointment. The participating physicians aim to help you using the least invasive treatment method possible. Every patient and medical condition is one of a kind. Your treatment plan should be, too.
Physicians who are members of the referral program practice independently and are not employees or agents of Texas Health Spine and Orthopedic Center.