Spinal stenosis — causes of spinal stenosis and how you can help prevent it
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal begins to narrow and compresses the nerves in the spinal cord. While this is a common condition for people over the age of 50 due to the natural aging process of the components of the spine, spinal stenosis can also be caused by a degenerative spine condition.
In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your spinal stenosis, it is necessary for you to consult your physician and schedule and MRI review. Once the cause of your spinal stenosis is determined, you can collaborate with your physician to create a treatment plan that fits your needs.
If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition or you have cause to believe that you have a degenerative spine condition, please review the following information about how degenerative spine conditions contribute to spinal stenosis.
Degenerative spine conditions
Degenerative spine conditions occur with the gradual loss of normal spine function over time. This could be caused by age, infection, injury, or other occurrences that cause the integrity of the spine to be compromised.
There are several spine conditions that cause gradual degeneration of the spine, resulting in the narrowing of the spinal canal. Some of the most common degenerative spine conditions are as follows:
- Degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration of a disc or discs due to general aging or injury. When an intervertebral disc wears down, disc material can enter the small spaces in the spinal canal where nerve roots are located. When nerve roots are impacted by the disc material, local and radiating pain can occur.
- Bulging discs are intervertebral discs that have become misshapen. These discs can protrude into the spinal canal, causing it to narrow. The nerve roots can become compressed and pain may occur.
- Bone spurs, often the result of osteoarthritis in the spinal canal, are small growths on the vertebrae or joints of the spine. They may develop as joints in the spinal column deteriorate. Bone spurs can grow into the spinal canal, narrowing the open space in the spinal canal and pressing on the nerve roots.
- Herniated discs are intervertebral discs that have broken open or ruptured due to wear and tear or injury. Disc material and fluid from herniated discs can cause the spinal canal to narrow and impact local nerve roots.
The most common location of degenerative spine conditions and spinal stenosis is in the lumbar (lower back) portion of the spine. This is because the lumbar spine is responsible for supporting most of the body’s weight. As the natural aging process occurs, more weight is compressed on the vertebrae and discs in the lumbar, causing a degenerative spine condition to develop.
Treatment options for degenerative spinal stenosis
Patients who have spinal stenosis caused by a degenerative spine condition may experience pain relief with our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer an effective alternative to traditional open back fusion. Each of our procedures are performed in our outpatient surgery center, which eliminates additional hospital stay and allows you to return home the same day your surgery is performed.
During our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the surgeon will cut a small, 1-inch incision at the location of your spine condition. Unlike traditional open back fusion, the surrounding muscles and soft tissue will not be cut or disturbed in order to access the spine. Our advanced, minimally invasive techniques allow our surgeons to move aside the surrounding muscle without cutting through them to reach the spine. Our surgeons will then decompress the affected nerve by removing either the bone spur or expanded disc, depending on the spine condition that is causing the spinal stenosis. Once the diseased portion of the spine is removed, an implant will be inserted to immediately stabilize the spine and help prevent future narrowing of the spinal canal.
For more information about our procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute. Our team will review* your MRI report at no cost to help determine your candidacy for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.