Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments in Bethlehem, PA
The spine plays a fundamental role in protecting the spinal cord and facilitating the body’s movements. Spinal stenosis can lead to its narrowing. This illness affects three primary areas of the spine: the central space, the regions where nerves extend from the spine to other parts of the body, and the space between the spinal bones.
Patients with spinal stenosis often experience chronic back and neck pain. Notably, this condition is more prevalent in individuals aged 50 years or older. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and available treatments helps to manage it and lead a better life. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic can help you determine the best course of treatment for your spinal stenosis in Bethlehem, PA. Our Concierge Team can also help streamline your appointments.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis can manifest through various symptoms, with the most common being neck pain. Others include cramping, pain in the arms, and weakness. However, the most overriding indication of this condition is radiating pain down the leg. Not everyone with spinal stenosis necessarily displays these symptoms, although most of these develop gradually over time.
Individuals with this condition also experience difficulties when walking. In some instances, this could even lead to neurogenic claudication, a state that forces the person to stop and rest frequently. Spinal stenosis also interferes with balance, increasing the risk of falls and potential injuries. It restricts the movement of the spine, making it harder to bend, twist, or perform everyday activities.
Ultimately, this illness reduces a patient’s quality of life by minimizing physical activity and increasing emotional distress. We do not recommend self-diagnosis of any ailment concerning intractable neck or back pain. The only way you can know for sure is by seeing a spinal stenosis specialist in Bethlehem, PA for a proper medical evaluation.
Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis in Bethlehem, PA
We use a comprehensive approach to diagnose spinal stenosis. Our spine doctors conduct a physical examination to assess the patient’s symptoms, mobility, and neurological function. To further aid in the diagnosis, we may order several imaging tests. X-rays are commonly used to visualize the bones and detect any abnormalities, such as bone spurs or changes in the spinal structure.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is another valuable tool that provides detailed images of the spinal cord, nerves, and soft tissues. It allows for a more precise assessment of the stenosis.
Sometimes, bone scans could be necessary to identify areas of increased bone activity that could indicate spinal stenosis. Most notably, spinal stenosis is caused by osteoarthritis, age-related conditions, and genetic conditions. Meet with a spinal specialist to help determine how your spinal stenosis can be treated.
Treatments for Spinal Stenosis
Once a definitive diagnosis of spinal stenosis is established, the treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition and the patient’s individual needs. Several medical treatments are available to effectively manage and alleviate the symptoms associated with spinal stenosis. Pain medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen are commonly prescribed for temporary relief. They help reduce inflammation. However, prolonged use should be closely monitored by a healthcare professional.
Tricyclic antidepressants have shown promise in easing chronic pain by modifying the way pain signals are processed in the brain. Anti-seizure drugs like gabapentin and pregabalin can be beneficial in reducing pain caused by damaged nerves by stabilizing nerve activity. Opioids may be prescribed for short-term use when other treatments have not offered sufficient relief. Due to the potential risk of serious side effects and addiction, opioids are used with caution and under close supervision.
Physical therapy plays a role in the treatment of spinal stenosis in Bethlehem, PA. It focuses on strengthening supportive muscles around the spine and promoting flexibility. These exercises can significantly improve mobility and reduce pain, enhancing the general health of patients. In more critical cases, conservative methods prove ineffective. What may follow is surgical intervention. The objective of the procedure is to alleviate pressure on the compromised section of the spinal cord and nerves.
Regain Mobility and Comfort with a Bethlehem, PA Spinal Stenosis Specialist at NJ Spine & Orthopedic
Bethlehem, PA residents can rest assured that specialized care and support await them at NJ Spine & Orthopedic. Our team of spine specialists provides personalized treatment and compassionate care to help you overcome the limitations caused by spinal stenosis.
Recognizing the causes and symptoms, and exploring the available treatments is paramount to regaining control over your life. Be it persistent pain or numbness, our skilled and specialized medical attention can make all the difference in your journey to recovery. Take the next step toward a more mobile future by scheduling your appointment with us. Contact us online or call us at (866) 553-0612 today.