Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine, often in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) spinal regions. This narrowing causes compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots, which typically leads to pain.
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, a condition which affects the cartilage cushioning your spine’s joints. This protective cartilage can wear down, eventually exposing the bone underneath. As the exposed bones in the joint rub against each other, the result is pain, swelling and tenderness. To learn more about diseases related to spinal vertebrae and joints, visit our facet disease page.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis can mimic strained muscles and slipped discs, making a self-diagnosis tricky. Spinal stenosis symptoms might include inflammation, lower back pain, muscle spasms, swelling and joint or muscle stiffness. Some patients may discover their pain eases when bending forward or sitting.
If you believe your back or neck pain is due to spinal stenosis, contact your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to make a proper diagnosis by conducting a physical and neurological examination, and possibly order a CT scan or MRI. For an in-depth look into treatment after diagnosis, review our spinal stenosis treatments page.
On occasion, some patients diagnosed with spinal stenosis require more than standard treatment to live a fully functioning lifestyle once again. Fortunately, there are other options available for pain relief, including the state-of-the-art, minimally invasive procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute. Recovery times are quicker and success rates are much higher than other treatments like open-back surgery, leaving you free to get out on the hiking trail, golf course, or tennis court once more! Contact us today for a free MRI or CT scan review, and to receive more information about our institute.