Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments in Germantown, PA
Life’s everyday wear and tear eventually takes a toll on the human body. As we age, one thing that’s likely to happen is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This occurrence puts pressure on your spinal cord and the nerve roots. This can lead to spinal stenosis, a common spine condition that affects many adults across the US. Other forms of deformity or instability of the spine may cause this health problem.
Spinal stenosis may develop in your neck, spine, or lower back. Usually, it begins as a tingling in your hand, arm, foot, or leg. If left untreated, it gradually progresses to total loss of sensation, muscle weakness, or loss of function. At its worst, spinal stenosis can be painful, making your life difficult. However, our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic is here to help you reduce your pain and work through any symptoms. Our Concierge Team can also streamline your treatment appointments.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Since spinal stenosis is a degenerative ailment, it primarily affects people aged 60 years or older. In rare cases, younger people can also develop this condition. Common symptoms include back and neck pain, muscle weakness, and numbness in the buttocks, legs, or calves. Pressure from the spinal cord’s narrowness sometimes disrupts nerve signals, resulting in decreased sensation in the lower extremities.
Cramping in the calves is also a common symptom. It makes walking painful and difficult. This occurs due to compressed nerves impeding the smooth functioning of leg muscles during physical activity. Another characteristic symptom is aches extending into the thighs and legs, similar to sciatica. The pain follows the affected nerve’s path, causing sharp sensations from the lower back to the legs.
This likely happens when the patient engages in activities that stress the spine, such as prolonged sitting and standing. In some scenarios, spinal stenosis can lead to severe complications. For instance, loss of motor function in the legs and impaired bowel or bladder function. When it gets to this point, the afflicted person requires immediate medical attention.
Conservative Treatments for Spinal Stenosis
Some individuals find relief from their symptoms when adopting positions that flex the spine, like bending forward, sitting, or lying down. These positions temporarily alleviate pressure on affected nerves and provide comfort. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek prompt medical evaluation to determine the appropriate treatment and management for spinal stenosis. Early detection and intervention are the best approaches to preventing these complexities.
Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis in Germantown, PA
Our healthcare providers conduct a thorough examination to diagnose spinal stenosis in Germantown, PA. During the physical exam, we look for specific signs, such as loss of sensation, weakness, and abnormal reflexes. These indicators help us identify potential nerve compression caused by the narrowed spinal canal. Imaging tests like lumbar spine X-rays are also performed to ascertain the diagnosis.
They can reveal bone growths that push on the spinal nerves or indicate the narrowing of the spinal canal. Our team at NJ Spine & Orthopedic works to obtain more details of the condition through advanced imaging techniques like CT or MRI scans. Other studies, such as bone scans, myelograms, and EMGs (electromyograms), may be ordered to further assess the spinal stenosis and its impact on the patient’s nervous system.
Treatment and Prevention for Spinal Stenosis in Germantown, PA
Once diagnosed, our doctors consider various treatment options depending on the progression of this ailment. Your general health will also be another determinant. Conservative treatments are typically the initial approach to managing lumbar spinal stenosis in Germantown, PA. Physical therapy is vital to strengthening the spine’s surrounding tissues. If the condition is not severe, our team may prescribe pain medication to alleviate the inflammation and manage the pain.
There is also the option of specific epidural steroid injections. This treatment regimen delivers corticosteroids directly into the spinal canal to minimize pain and inflammation. Likewise, our spine specialists may recommend lifestyle modifications. For instance, we may ask the patient to engage in low-impact exercises regularly, as more rigorous physical activities could make lumbar spinal stenosis worse.
Fortunately, most people with stenosis will not need surgery. Surgery will only be necessary where conservative treatment is insufficient. The absolute indication for surgical intervention is myelopathy and disabling pain. When a patient starts experiencing falls or bladder problems, the stenosis is severe, and immediate medical intervention is needed.
Get in Touch With the Germantown, PA Spinal Stenosis Specialists at NJ Spine & Orthopedic Today
Do you suspect the symptoms you are experiencing are those of spinal stenosis? An early diagnosis will increase your chances of successful treatment and management of the condition. At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, we see patients with various spine issues every day. The main goal is always to help them get the proper treatment and care.
Our back, spine, and neck specialists are highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating various spinal conditions, including spinal stenosis in Germantown, PA. We understand that spinal health plays a paramount role in your general health, and our mission is to help our patients regain their mobility, reduce pain, and live with minimal limitations. Fill out our contact form or call us at (866) 553-0612 to schedule an appointment with our doctors.