Stenosis risk factors are the everyday factors that can exacerbate the chance of developing spinal stenosis – the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition is a frequent source of back and neck pain in the aging population, but can also be traced to congenital defect and other sources of spine deterioration.
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal becomes narrowed and can actually constrict the spinal cord or the spinal nerves, potentially causing a variety of painful symptoms. In a healthy spine, the spinal canal acts like a sheath of bone around the spinal cord – protecting the cord from damage and allowing safe passage for spinal nerve roots between the vertebrae in the spine. Stenosis occurs when this canal is narrowed by herniated discs, inflamed soft tissue, bone spurs, infection, or other forms of spine deterioration.
Activities to Watch out for
Common stenosis risk factors are activities that put additional, undue stress on the spine, particularly in the lumbar spine in the lower back and the cervical spine in the neck, increasing the likelihood or extent of spine deterioration. Activities that should be limited or avoided include:
- High-impact sports
- Repetitive activities that require bending or twisting
- Smoking or excessive drinking
- Poor posture
- Not correctly stretching before physical activity
- Being overweight or obese
It is important to remember that spinal stenosis is not necessarily symptomatic, but if the spinal canal constricts the cord, a number of painful neuropathic symptoms can follow, depending on the location of the stenosis. Chronic back or neck pain, muscle weakness in the arms, torso or legs, numbness in the extremities and diminished reflexes can all be traced back to stenosis.
If you are suffering from spinal stenosis and conservative treatments haven’t provided you with sufficient pain relief, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our various minimally invasive, outpatient decompression procedures. Call today to request a free review of your MRI and for more information on stenosis risk factors.