What Is Spinal Canal Stenosis?
Your spine is made up of 24 bony vertebrae and between each vertebra are discs, which provide shock absorption so the vertebrae don’t rub together. Going through the middle of each vertebra is a space known as the spinal canal. It is within this space that nerves, blood, the spinal cord, and ligaments can be found. Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal. This is a degenerative condition that occurs slowly over time.
As this condition progresses not only can this lead to a stiffening of the ligaments, it can also lead to an overgrowth of bone and bone spurs. While spinal stenosis can occur anywhere in the spine it most commonly occurs in the lower or lumbar region.
The Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
In the very beginning, you may not even notice any changes or symptoms but as the condition progresses this can lead to significant back pain. The pain may be dull at first but may suddenly become more severe. The pain may also flare-up during certain activities.
Depending on the location of your spinal stenosis you may also experience,
- Tingling and numbness in the buttocks, thighs, neck, arms or hands
- Muscle weakness
- The trouble with balance and coordination
- Clumsiness and difficulty holding objects
- The Cause of Spinal Stenosis
Some narrowing of the spinal canal is normal as we age; however, stenosis can also be the result of degenerative spinal conditions, vertebral fractures, rheumatoid arthritis or certain metabolic disorders (e.g. Paget’s disease). The majority of spinal stenosis cases are men and women between the ages of 50 and 70.
Treating Spinal Stenosis
If you are experiencing persistent, severe or unexplained back pain it’s important that you see a pain management physician as soon as possible. While there is no cure for spinal stenosis, early interventions can control the symptoms you are experiencing. Common nonsurgical treatment options may include,
- Anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy
If these treatments don’t provide enough relief then our board-certified anesthesiologist may recommend steroid injections. Epidural steroid injections numb the nerve root canals and the spinal space while also reducing swelling of the nerves. Facet injections are delivered directly into the facet joint to numb the pain. In some cases, surgery is required to remove the overgrowth of the bone to take the pressure off the nerves of the spine.
Whether you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis or you are dealing with back pain, turn to the pain management medical team at Reno Tahoe Pain Associates in Reno, NV for care. Call (775) 384-1127 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali Nairizi.