Spinal stenosis is a back condition that specifically describes the narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition can occur for multiple reasons, likely due to a combination of other spinal conditions. Spinal stenosis is most common in the lower (lumbar region) part of the spine and upper (cervical region) part of the spine. Lumbar spinal stenosis and cervical spinal stenosis produce similar symptoms, but in different parts of the body.
How Do I Know If I Have Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is most common in older adults, due to the natural aging process, or patients who have experienced a back or neck injury. Pain is normally the first symptom, due to the additional pressure put on the spine. Patients will also have symptoms such as tingling, numbness or muscle weakness in either the arms and hands or legs and feet; this depends on the area of the spine the stenosis is occurring.
Cervical spinal stenosis will cause these symptoms to occur in the arms and hands while lumbar spinal stenosis will cause similar symptoms in the legs and feet. It’s not uncommon for patients to experience sudden, sharp pain that radiates down the arms or legs, and in more severe cases bladder and bowel dysfunction is experienced.
Are you suffering from any of these conditions or worried you may have spinal stenosis? Try our Condition Check Tool to determine the cause and help us diagnosis your condition.
What is the Right Treatment for Me?
Treatment options for spinal stenosis depend on what stage of the disease you have, and range from pain relief medications and exercise to minimally invasive surgery and invasive surgery in advanced stages. Like many conditions of the spine, the earlier you catch spinal stenosis, the less invasive the treatment options typically are.
Physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medications are common first steps for short term pain relief. If these treatments are unsuccessful or help very little, a regimen of cortisone injections can be used for longer-term pain relief. This can also help identify the specific cause of the pain, if surgery is ever needed. Surgery options could include a laminectomy or a special procedure called a Laminoforaminotomy.
The team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic believes that accurately diagnosing the condition and exploring all treatment options is the key to pain relief. Try our Treatment Check Tool to find out what treatment option is right for you.