Spinal Stenosis

What is Stenosis?

Narrowing of the open space within the spine is termed as ‘stenosis’ or ‘spinal stenosis’. The narrowing causes more pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves. Usually, spinal stenosis affects the neck and the lower back. Stenosis may not show any signs or symptoms in some people. While it may cause pain, numbness, bladder or bowel problems etc. in some. Wear and tear changes in the spine is said to be the main cause of this condition.

Spinal Stenosis Diagram

What causes spinal stenosis?

Narrowed spinal canal is the main cause of spinal stenosis. Some people are born with small spinal canal. While in some people, aging can cause the same issue. Some of the common causes include:

What are the common signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis?

People with this condition may not show any signs or symptoms. However, there can be symptoms in some which may vary based on the location.

In neck

  • Tingling or weakness on the leg, hand or arm

  • Numbness

  • Incontinence in severe cases

In lower back

  • Cramping or pain in the legs

  • Discomforts while bending or sits down

How is stenosis diagnosed?

Diagnosing this condition is difficult as it may not show many symptoms. Diagnostic procedures  include:

  • CT scan

  • MRI

  • Myelogram

How is stenosis treated?

There are several ways to treatthis condition. Some of the common treatment options may include:

  • Keeping away from physical activities can help improving the symptoms.
  • Change in posture
  • Pain and other discomforts can be controlled using antidepressants and other drugs.
  • Surgery is the final option when all the other treatment options fail to obtain the result. The main aim of the surgery will be to relieve the symptoms. Surgery will choose according to the condition. A laminectomy is done to remove the back part of lamina of the affected vertebrae. It will help to create more space in the spinal canal. Sometimes, spinal fusion is also done to maintain the spine’s strength.

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