Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes the spinal canal to grow progressively narrower. This means that there isn't enough room for the spine and its surrounding nerves. Often, people with spinal stenosis experience pain, numbness, and tingling in the spine, legs, and arms. Spinal stenosis happens in the lumbar spine in most cases, although it can occur in the upper spine as well. This condition won't go away on its own, but if medical treatment is sought a patient can reduce spinal stenosis symptoms.
The signs of spinal stenosis are quite varied. Many people have few obvious symptoms while others suffer from considerable pain. Other possible symptoms of spinal stenosis include numbness, a pins and needles feeling, and bladder issues.
The people who develop spinal stenosis most commonly are those who suffer from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Some people also develop spinal stenosis due to the natural aging process. Bone and joint swelling and bone spurs are all common in arthritis sufferers and these things often play a role in the development of spinal stenosis. Although it's not common, spinal stenosis may be inherited.
In most cases, the doctor will order an MRI or a CT scan when spinal stenosis is suspected. The MRI report will then help the doctor decide which course of treatment will be most effective.
The most common surgical procedure used to correct spinal stenosis is the decompressive laminectomy. During this procedure, the pressure on the nerve roots is relieved through the removal of the lamina. The lamina, which sits atop the vertebral arch, can restrict the nerves in the spinal canal too severely. With removal of the lamina, the pain associated with spinal stenosis can be greatly reduced.
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