Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the open spaces within your spine which places pressure or intrudes on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spinal column. Spinal stenosis most commonly affects the neck and lower back and can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the affected areas. The excess bone growth can occur as we age and often results from osteoarthritis. However, it can be caused by a herniated disc, tumors and thickening of the spinal ligaments as well. Most patients will begin seeing symptoms around the age of 60 and approximately 75% of cases that are seen occur in the low back and most will affect the sciatic nerve causing Sciatica or Lumbar Radiculopathy.
Generally speaking the most common symptoms include arm or leg pain, numbness and tingling and most often you will rarely experience weakness. In the lumbar spine, flexing forward or sitting will open the spinal canal and alleviate the symptoms, but they reoccur when a patient stands upright. The longer a patient is standing or walking the more severe the symptoms will appear. Spinal stenosis can also cause problems with control of the bladder and bowels.
Treatment options can include anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers and medications to relieve pain. Steroid injections may be beneficial and your physician may recommend physical therapy. If no signs of improvement occur with the conservative treatment options surgery may be needed to eliminate the pressure on the nerves.
If you are experiencing back pain, neck pain, weakness of the neck, stiffness of the neck or have a spine injury, give us a call 972-250-5700 or make an appointment now.