The Vault

An Overview of Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN) and Treatment Options
February 13, 2017
Cervical Disc Herniation and Treatment Options
February 21, 2017

Spinal Stenosis and Treatment Options

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs because of an irregular narrowing of the spinal canal. Stenosis can happen in the cervical (neck), thoracic (torso), and lumbar (low back) regions causing pain and decrease the ability to perform normal activities.  Injury or normal degeneration causes spinal stenosis, which starts and progresses slowly. The ailment usually affects individuals aged 50 and older, but can appear in people in the 30-50 age range who have congenital spine problems. There is no cure for spinal stenosis, although it can be successfully managed through conservative care and surgical intervention when necessary.

Spinal stenosis symptoms depend on the location of the tightened space in the spinal canal that compresses the spinal nerves. Individuals will often experience the following:

  • Weakness, tingling, numbness and pain moving into the buttock, thigh, and leg (lumbar region)
  • Difficulty walking, with accompanying leg pain and “foot drop” (lumbar region)
  • Pain moving into the arms (cervical region)
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control – call physician at once

Several conditions cause spinal stenosis, some of which include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Large, brittle bones (Paget’s disease)
  • Bone spurs, calcium deposits, or other growths resulting osteoarthritis
  • Trauma from an injury
  • Inflammation
  • Tumors
  • Metabolic difficulties

A diagnosis of spinal stenosis is verified by a physician’ medical history and current review, along with a thorough physical exam. Data from testing utilizing an X-ray, MRI, CT scan, and Myelogram will support or rule out the condition.

Management of spinal stenosis will often begin with a non-invasive approach and will consist of medication for pain and inflammation control. Physical therapy is then added, focusing on strengthening and activity modification, with brace fitting and walker training if needed. Epidural injections are available if pain is not relieved. Chiropractic care and acupuncture are other options. When conservative treatment is ineffective, surgical techniques such as laminectomy with or without fusion can be explored.

If you have spinal stenosis and are interested in finding out about the treatment options we provide, please call us at either our New Braunfels or Seguin offices.

 

 

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