If you have been diagnosed with stenosis in your back or neck, you may be wondering how the condition developed, why it’s causing symptoms, and what your options are for treatment. These are all valid questions and, believe it or not, learning about the details of your condition may even aid you in finding the most effective treatments to mitigate your pain.
You likely already know that spinal stenosis is defined as a narrowing of some hollow cavity or passageway in the spine. In canal stenosis, the central passageway that houses the spinal cord has narrowed. In foraminal stenosis, one of the many foramina, or openings, that are located where the stacked vertebrae meet, has narrowed. The intervertebral foramina provide nerve roots branching off the spinal cord with a tunnel of sorts so that they can exit the spinal column and begin dividing into branches that go on to innervate the entire body.
Causes of Spinal Narrowing
Some people are born with stenosis in the back or neck, but the majority of individuals who experience this condition develop spinal narrowing over time. As the components of the spine such as the vertebrae, ligaments, and intervertebral discs gradually deteriorate with age and use, specific anatomical abnormalities can arise that infringe on the space of the central canal or the intervertebral foramina. Examples include:
- Herniated discs
- Bulging discs
- Thinning discs
- Bone spurs
- Ligament hypertrophy
Stenosis in back or neck passageways can remain completely asymptomatic. However, if the central canal or a foramen narrows to the point that a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord becomes compressed, symptoms will likely arise. If you’ve already been diagnosed with stenosis in your back, you are likely no stranger to the pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness that commonly radiate throughout the back, neck, or extremities due to spinal nerve compression.
If you have been unable to find relief from your spinal stenosis symptoms despite several months of non-surgical treatments, you may be a candidate for an endoscopic decompression procedure from Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient surgeries offer safe, effective alternatives to highly invasive open spine surgeries, and many of our patients are able to return to their full range of activities just two weeks after their outpatient procedure. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more.
In rare cases, surgery for a slipped disc in the neck may be necessary. If you are considering spine surgery because nonsurgical treatments have proven ineffective, Laser Spine Institute may be able to help. We offer minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that are welcome alternatives to highly invasive surgeries. Contact us today to learn more and find out if you are a candidate for an endoscopic spine procedure.