Moderate spinal stenosis is the intermediate stage of spinal stenosis – falling in between mild and severe spinal stenosis. When you have moderate spinal stenosis, the symptoms are a constant reminder that your spinal column is continuing to narrow in some areas, and as this occurs, you may have trouble standing up straight, walking for long distances, or getting out of bed without considerable pain.
Perhaps a greater concern with spinal stenosis is the fact that it’s a progressive disease, so a person experiencing the symptoms of moderate spinal stenosis may eventually have to contend with the condition worsening into severe spinal stenosis.
All cases of spinal stenosis – whether mild, moderate, or severe – involve a narrowing of the spinal canal. This occurs when bulging discs, herniated discs, inflamed ligaments, or other tissues degenerate with age, and eventually this deterioration puts pressure on nerve roots and the spinal cord. When nerve tissue is compressed in this way, symptoms – such as pain and discomfort in the back, neck, and extremities – usually result.
Initially, with mild spinal stenosis you may experience occasional lower back pain or on-and-off stiffness in your neck. However, you typically won’t be prevented from performing your daily tasks or engaging in most activities. Your doctor will likely prescribe medically conservative treatments, such as rest, massage, and stretching, and your symptoms may go away.
When symptoms persist and become more intense, or when new symptoms develop even after you have conscientiously followed a treatment regimen, then your condition may likely be classified as moderate spinal stenosis.
In this case, symptoms can include:
- Persistent pain or numbness that radiates down the shoulders and arms from the neck, or down the legs from the lower back
- Stiffness or numbness in the back or neck when you sit too long or upon rising the morning
- Restricted movement or flexibility that becomes worse with continued movement
Moderate spinal stenosis typically means that your activities are limited, but are not completely hampered, by its symptoms. At this point, your physician may try corticosteroid injections in your back or neck. These epidural steroid injections for spinal stenosis contain a powerful anti-inflammatory that may be all that is needed to reduce or eliminate symptoms, so that you can proceed with physical rehabilitation and regain your lifestyle.
But, when injections and other therapies fail, and your pain and discomfort are unrelenting, your doctor may recommend surgery. If your spinal stenosis is this severe, then you may want to consider Laser Spine Institute’s alternative to traditional open back surgery. Contact LSI today for more information about our minimally invasive endoscopic procedures, which are performed on an outpatient basis and can help you regain your active lifestyle.