Making a spinal stenosis diagnosis can be difficult because its symptoms of numbness, weakness and tingling in the arm, lower back, thigh or leg can resemble other conditions including facet arthritis. During diagnosis, doctors often find that the underlying cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis, a condition which affects the cartilage cushioning your spine’s joints. To learn more about diseases related to spinal vertebrae and joints, visit our degenerative disc disease page.
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include:
- Muscle spasms
- Joint or muscle stiffness
- Discomfort when leaning backwards
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with your healthcare provider. He or she will be able to make a proper spinal stenosis diagnosis by reviewing details about your symptoms and performing a physical exam.
Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis
Your doctor can also request certain tests in order to confirm your diagnosis. They can include:
- X-rays to look for signs of an injury, tumor or genetic abnormality
- MRI, which provides a three dimensional view of your back and can detect damage to your discs and ligaments
- CT scan, which can show the size and shape of your spinal canal
- Myelogram, during which a contrast dye is injected into the spinal column to detect herniated discs, bone spurs or tumors
If your doctor confirms that you have spinal stenosis, you may be prescribed a regimen of non-prescription medicine like acetaminophen and physical therapy. To learn more about treatment options, visit our spinal stenosis treatments page.
In time, it may be necessary for you to seek other treatment options to relieve your symptoms. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer free MRI or CT scan reviews, as well as consultations for our minimally invasive, state-of-the-art, outpatient procedures. Contact us today for more information about our institute, and how we can help you get back to doing what you love most!