Spinal Stenosis | Spine Condition
Spinal stenosis is a disease in the spine where the space in the backbone becomes too narrow. This narrowing of the spine puts pressure on the spinal cord and root nerves in the spine. Historically it’s more typical to have spinal stenosis in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis) or neck (cervical spinal stenosis).
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is aging and wear and tear on the spine and many times it’s related to arthritis but there can be many causes of spinal stenosis, after all it is just a narrowing of the space in the spine that causes things to be compressed and cause pain.
Severe cases of spinal stenosis can be extremely painful and will most likely require a surgical procedure to address the pain. Surgery for spinal stenosis is most efficient, effective, and less painful when an endoscopic approach is taken.
Many people grow old living with spinal stenosis and never know they have it. You only know you have it when space in the spine has decreased enough to create pressure, or when a condition in the spine is causing pressure.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
If you have any of the following symptoms you may want to be checked for lumbar spinal stenosis:
- Lower back pain
- Pain that lessens when sitting, bending forward, leaning, pushing a shopping cart, or walking up hill
- In severe cases, a loss of bladder or bowel control
- Stiffness in legs or cramping
- Weakness in legs or feet
- Pins and needles or numbness in legs, feet or buttocks
Cervical Spinal Stenosis
If you have any of the following symptoms you may want to be checked for cervical spinal stenosis:
- Pain in neck
- Losing feeling or function of hands
- Problems with balance
- Numbness or tingling in arm, foot, hand or leg
- Weakness or clumsiness in foot, arm, leg or hand.
- And as with all severe cases, loss of bowel or bladder control.
Osteoarthritis and the natural aging process are the most common reasons for spinal stenosis, however bulging and herniated discs as well as bone overgrowth and bone spurs being a common contributor as well.
Other causes are:
- Injuries – Any trauma to the spine can cause inflammation which in turn will cause pressure on the spine and narrow the space in the spinal canal.
- Thickened ligaments – ligaments can thicken over time and bulge in to the spinal canal.
- Congenital defects – A person can be born with defect in the spine that lead to having spinal stenosis.
- Cysts or tumors – Although this is rarely the cause, spine cancer and cysts can also cause spinal stenosis.
Dr. Mork only recommends utilizing endoscopic decompression procedures to decompress the spinal canal and to consider alternative surgical procedures when exploring spinal stenosis treatment options.
Some of the treatments that may be recommended by your doctor are:
Laminotomy, laminoplasty, foraminotomy, interspinous process spacers, or a spinal fusion. You want to avoid a fusion at all costs and if you haven’t seen an endoscopic surgeon as of yet, make sure you book your appointment with Dr. Mork to start your path towards a pain free life!