Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of a portion of the spinal canal due to bone spurs, herniated or bulging discs, thickened ligaments, bone fractures, or shifting vertebrae. This narrowing can cause the spinal cord or nearby nerve roots to become pinched. Spinal stenosis most often develops in the neck (cervical spine) or lower back (lumbar spine) and affects individuals over the age of 50.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis doesn’t always produce noticeable symptoms. However, if the stenosis causes nerve compression, the following symptoms may occur:
- Numbness or tingling sensations in one or more extremities
- Neck or back pain
- Muscle weakness in the arms or legs
- Difficulty standing for long periods of time
- Balance problems
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction, in advanced cases
If you begin to notice any of these symptoms, be sure to promptly consult with a physician.
What does spinal stenosis treatment involve?
Treating spinal stenosis involves addressing the underlying condition. Oftentimes, physicians recommend a combination of conservative methods to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves and help restore spinal health. Some common treatment approaches include:
- Stretching and low-impact exercise
- Physical therapy
- Pain relieving mediation or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Corticosteroid injection
If several weeks or months of conservative treatment fail to relieve symptoms, surgery to create more space in the spinal canal may be recommended.
Orthopaedic Specialists helps residents of the Greater Pittsburgh Region find meaningful relief from spinal stenosis and many other musculoskeletal conditions. To schedule an appointment with a board-certified physician on our team, contact us today.