Spinal stenosis FAQ — frequently asked questions

Q: What is spinal stenosis?

A: Spinal stenosis refers to narrowing in the spinal column, including the central spinal canal and the small openings that allow nerve roots to exit the spine.

Q: What causes spinal stenosis?

A: There are a number of factors that can cause spinal stenosis, but it is most commonly related to age-related degeneration of the spinal anatomy that causes conditions like spinal arthritis or herniated discs. These conditions can displace spinal anatomy, causing narrowing and potentially painful nerve compression. More rare causes and contributors can include birth defects, spinal tumors and traumatic injury.

Q: I think I have spinal stenosis. What is the best way for me to get a diagnosis?

A: Symptoms of spinal stenosis include localized pain in the neck or back that can be accompanied by radiating symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the extremities. If you are dealing with these symptoms, your primary care physician is usually the place to start. After a full medical history and exam, your doctor can refer you to a specialist to get an MRI or CT scan. If you have received confirmation of a diagnosis, we will be happy to review your MRI to see if we can help you find relief.

Q: Where does spinal stenosis occur?

A: Spinal stenosis can occur in any region of the spine, from the upper (cervical) to the middle (thoracic) or lower (lumbar). However, it is most commonly found in the lumbar spine.

Q: How is spinal stenosis treated?

A: Upon diagnosis, spinal stenosis is usually treated with a course of conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, therapeutic massage and lifestyle changes like posture correction or quitting smoking. The goal is to manage symptoms and promote long-term spine health while the progress of the condition is monitored.

Q: I have exhausted conservative treatment options. Who and where do I turn to next to understand my symptoms and get relief from my pain?

A: If you have been through weeks or months of treatment without finding necessary relief to return to a satisfying quality of life, surgery can become a serious consideration.

Q: Does Laser Spine Institute treat spinal stenosis?

A: Yes. Spinal stenosis is one of the most common conditions we treat at Laser Spine Institute. Through our minimally invasive approach, we relieve pain and other symptoms of stenosis while avoiding the large incisions and long recovery periods of traditional open back procedures.^

Q: I’ve been told I’m a candidate for a spinal fusion to treat my spinal stenosis. Can Laser Spine Institute help?

A: Yes, we can perform minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spinal stenosis, which is our outpatient approach to spinal fusion procedures.

Our surgeries are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery and offer our patients a shorter recovery time^. Contact us today to learn more. To find out if you are a potential candidate for a minimally invasive outpatient procedure at Laser Spine Institute, we’re happy to provide a free MRI review.*

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