Spinal stenosis is narrowing or compression of your spinal canal. This narrowing can result in pressure or strain of nerves and spinal cord. So what causes this medical condition? What are its symptoms? Can it be treated? Below is all what you need to know about spinal stenosis.
Aging is the most common cause of this condition. How the condition progress varies as people age and its manifestation is slow.
Other health conditions can make you suffer from this condition. Such diseases include Paget’s disease of bone, herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, arthritis or structural deformities.
The condition can also be caused by hereditary trauma to spine.
The other cause that can make you prone to this condition is being involved in an accident that may result in injury to your spine.
Types of this condition and their symptoms
There are three types of this disorder of which each has its symptoms:
Cervical spinal stenosis: This type affects your neck and may involve either the spinal nerves or cord. When the cord is involved, your legs are affected where you may experience uncoordinated movement or difficulty walking. If it is the spinal nerves, you will experience numbness, back pain and tingling or neck weakness which can spread to arms or shoulders.
Lumbar stenosis: This type will affect your lower back. Its symptoms are experiencing pain in your legs and lower back. Your one leg or both of them may become weak.
Thoracic stenosis: This type is rare since there is minimal curvature in the thoracic spine which means there is a lesser amount of stress on the joints between vertebrae. There are no visible symptoms of this type because the spinal canal is usually lower in the thoracic spine.
The following diagnosis can be carried out to tell if you are suffering from this medical condition.
1. You can be examined physically to assess the extremities of pain and weakness.
2. Neurological assessment to detect chronic nerve root depression
3. Lab assessments to eliminate abnormal cause of nerve root and spinal dysfunction
4. Lumbar and cervical spine X-rays to determine the severity of spinal instability or degeneration
5. Dye injection in the spinal cord and nerve roots to detect the problems. This is called myelogram
6. Electromyographic (EMG) tests to discover nerve roots that are compressed
7. Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scans to visualize the spinal column to spot areas of stenosis.
The unfortunate thing is that this condition has no cure. However, a spine specialist can try to give you functional status. Conservative methods can be used for as long as possible. Though they do not cure the condition, they provide relief to the above symptoms through exercises.
Chiropractic care is also a good option for relieving symptoms. You can also opt for massage, physical therapy, and acupuncture. If all these options don’t provide any results, nerve blocks and epidural cortisone treatments may be undertaken. Regardless of the disorder being untreatable, one can live a happy and full life with it.