How canal stenosis symptoms are diagnosed and treated
Symptoms of spinal canal stenosis only occur when the spinal canal becomes constricted and the nerve roots or spinal cord become compressed. This condition is associated with aging and is unavoidable. Spinal stenosis, when symptomatic, affects the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) regions more than the thoracic (middle) region of the vertebral column. Development of symptomatic spinal stenosis can be worsened by a number of spinal conditions, including osteoarthritis, bone spurs and herniated discs. Read on to learn more about the symptoms of this condition and the treatment available.
Canal stenosis symptoms
Patients only experience the symptoms of spinal canal stenosis when the nerves in the spine become compressed due to the narrowing of the canal. The symptoms of this condition can vary depending on its location:
- Cervical spinal canal stenosis. Patients with spinal stenosis in the cervical region of the spine typically experience weakness, tingling, numbness and pain in the head, neck, upper back, shoulders and arms. In extreme cases, damage to the protective covering that surrounds nerve fibers in the spinal cord can occur. In this case, symptoms may be extreme, affecting balance and other vital functions.
- Thoracic spinal stenosis. This rare condition occurs in the middle of the back. Pain may be felt in the back, ribs, internal organs or the abdomen.
- Lumbar spinal stenosis. Occurring in the lumbar region of the spine, this condition usually presents itself with pain in the lower back. Some patients also experience pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the hips, buttocks, legs and feet.
Canal stenosis treatments
Many patients experience relief from their spinal canal stenosis symptoms with the use of conservative treatments. These nonsurgical therapies include pain medications, hot and cold compresses, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, heat massage, low-impact exercises and corticosteroid injections. Some patients also are able to relieve their pain and discomfort through the use of alternative therapies like acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation. It is important to consult your physician so you can begin a personalized conservative treatment plan that is best for your spine care needs.
If your symptoms fail to respond to these conservative and alternative therapies after several weeks or months of treatment, your physician may recommend surgery to relieve your spinal stenosis symptoms. Before you agree to highly invasive open spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about our minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures. Our surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and is often the clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery.^
By using a small incision that is muscle sparing, our highly skilled surgeons are able to remove part or all of the displaced disc material that is narrowing the spine and possibly stabilize your spine depending on the severity of your condition. Reach out to our team today for a free MRI review* or to learn more about our minimally invasive procedures. We can determine if you are a potential candidate for our minimally invasive canal stenosis, so you can get started on your road to recovery.