Narrowing of the spine

By Michael Perry, M.D.

Also known as spinal stenosis, narrowing of the spine is usually caused by injury or degenerative spine conditions like a herniated disc or an arthritic bone spur. Many times, this narrowing goes unnoticed because the spinal cord or nerve roots are not affected. However, if it becomes too severe and the space becomes too small to comfortably accommodate the spinal cord or nerve roots, the pressure can result in symptoms like pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, muscle spasms and cramping.

The affected area of the body depends on the location of the affected area in the spine, but symptoms may be experienced in the neck, upper back, lower back, chest, arms, legs, buttocks and feet, and they may be felt on one or both sides of the body depending on the severity of the condition. Symptoms can be very debilitating, affecting your ability to spend time with family or do your favorite activities.

What can cause narrowing of the spine? Conditions including:
  • Bulging discs
  • Ruptured discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Facet joint disease
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Swollen ligaments

These conditions cause stenosis by becoming displacing anatomy the spinal column, which narrows the already tight passageways the nerves travel through.

Treatments for narrowing of the spine

If your doctor diagnoses you with narrowing of the spine due to a degenerative or injury-related condition, the first step in treatment is usually a course of conservative options to relieve symptoms and improve mobility. Commonly prescribed conservative methods for these conditions include:

  • Cold compresses and heating pads
  • Physical therapy
  • Exercise
  • Stretching
  • Weight loss, posture improvement and other lifestyle changes
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Pain medications — over the counter and prescription

When surgery becomes an option

If these conservative approaches have been exhausted without an improvement in symptoms, your physician may recommend surgery as a last resort for relieving pain and other symptoms due to spinal stenosis. If this is the case for your condition, then Laser Spine Institute wants you to know that open neck or back surgery is not your only option for relief.

Minimally invasive spine surgeries are advanced procedures that are effective treatments for conditions that cause narrowing of the spine and the symptoms produced by it, without the downtime, risks, bodily trauma, hospital stay or other negative aspects^ of open spine surgery.

Contact us today for your no-cost MRI review* to find out if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures.