As you age, your spine narrows and begins to clench your spinal cord. While the narrowing process progresses slowly, over time, it puts pressure on the nerves and causes a condition known as spinal stenosis. This condition causes you to experience low back pain or neck pain, which will lead to discomfort. The Georgetown spinal stenosis specialists at Republic Spine & Pain can help if you are battling the condition.
Types of spinal stenosis
There are two different types of spinal stenosis: cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis.
Cervical stenosis affects the cervical spine of your neck and causes pain to spread to your upper back and shoulders. Lumbar stenosis, on the other hand, affects the lower back.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
If you have been suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you are at a higher risk of getting spinal stenosis due to wear and tear on your bones and joints.
As you age, your body tissues deteriorate, causing them to lose their ability to function throughout the body. During the aging process, the tissue in your spine can condense and your bones can enlarge, thus compressing the nerves.
Being involved in a car accident that caused fractures or dislocation of the vertebrae can affect your spinal canal. As a result, such an injury could lead to a degenerative condition.
If the discs of the vertebrae dry out or crack due to the aging factor, this allows the soft internal material that puts pressure on the nerves or spinal cord to be lost.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis progress slowly and get worse as the nerves contract more and more over time. The different symptoms depend on the affected location.
If your stenosis is in the cervical spine, you will experience neck pain. You may also have trouble walking or balance, as well as urinary incontinence. Also, you may experience weakness, numbness, or tingling in your hand, foot, or leg.
If you have lumbar spine stenosis, you will experience low back pain. You may also feel tingling in your leg or foot, as well as numbness and weakness. After standing for a long period of time, you may experience cramps or pain in one or both legs.
Diagnosis of spinal stenosis
Your doctor will review your medical history during the diagnosis of spinal stenosis. They will also do a physical exam and write down your symptoms and may recommend other tests to confirm the diagnosis. Such tests include:
X-ray of the spine to examine any presence of bone spurs, osteoarthritis, or narrowing of the spinal canal. Your doctor can perform imaging tests, such as a CT scan, to take pictures of your spinal canal and your back, while an MRI of your spine will capture impressions of your nerves and spinal cord.
Spinal stenosis treatment
After diagnosis, your doctor will recommend a treatment based on your specific needs. Your doctor may recommend a minimally invasive procedure known as vertiflex superion treatment for your spinal stenosis to relieve pressure on the affected nerves.
Your doctor may also recommend other treatments such as physical therapy to help strengthen your muscles, corticosteroid injections to minimize swelling, and muscle relaxant medications or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to ease your pain.
If you suffer from spinal stenosis, call or book an appointment online with Republic Spine & Pain to embark on treatment.