Spinal Stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and nerves. It is usually due to the common occurrence of spinal degeneration that comes with aging. It can also be caused by spinal disc herniation, tumor or osteoporosis. If located in the cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) region, it can be a congenital condition.
Spinal Stenosis can affect the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine. It some cases, it can be present in all three places in the patient.
The cause of spinal stenosis may be genetic. However, the primary reason for the development of stenosis is degenerative disc disease.
There are other conditions that can encourage the development of stenosis such as rheumatolid arthritis, osteoarthritis, scoliosis, spinal tumors and trauma.
- Leg pain that increases when standing or walking.
- Aching in the low back, buttocks and thighs.
- Intense numbness or pain in the legs.
- More serious symptoms can include loss of bowel and bladder function and a loss of feeling in an arm or leg.
Below are some of the diagnostic tools that your physician may use to gain insight into your condition and determine the best treatment plan for your condition.
- Medical history
- Physical Exam
- MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
- CT Scan / Myelogram
- Bone Scan
Often times, changing posture and taking spinal injections can help control the symptoms for a while. For the most part, the condition can be treated non-surgically. However, some cases will require surgery.
The most common surgical procedure used to treat spinal stenosis is a laminectomy which helps to create more space for the surrounding spinal nerves.
To learn more about the laminectomy and other surgical procedures, click here.
What causes spinal stenosis?
Degenerating discs are the most common cause of spinal stenosis. Spinal tumors, bone disease, injury and other conditions can also lead to stenosis.
At what point is surgery usually considered?
Surgery is considered when all other treatments have been unsuccessful or when it becomes apparent that surgery is the best alternative.