Spinal stenosis — general overview of causes and treatments available
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. While this definition might seem simple, a comprehensive understanding of spinal stenosis is slightly more complex. Unlike other spine conditions that have a specific cause, spinal stenosis can be caused by a number of components, including other spine conditions that contribute to spinal stenosis. Because of its number of potential causes, including the natural aging process, spinal stenosis is one of the most common spine conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis or suspect that you have a degenerative spine condition contributing to your spinal stenosis, you should schedule an appointment with your physician to review your MRI or CT scan and create a treatment plan to fit your lifestyle.
Common occurrences of spinal stenosis
One of the most common causes of spinal stenosis is the natural aging process of the spine. The spine, specifically the lumbar (lower back) portion of the spine, stabilizes the body and allows for flexibility and movements. As time goes on, the spine supports an increase in body weight, causing the integrity of the spine to gradually deteriorate. Vertebrae and discs might become compressed and displaced due to the increase in weight to support, causing the spinal canal to narrow. Spinal stenosis caused by natural aging is usually found in the lower back or lumbar region.
Additionally, spinal stenosis often affects people over the age of 50 because of the increased presence of osteoarthritis –a spine condition that occurs when arthritis forms in the joints and bones of the spine and causes bone spurs. Bone spurs are small growths on the joints or vertebrae of the spine, which causes the space between the spine and the walls of the spinal canal to narrow in the location of the growth.
Other common spine conditions that contribute to spinal stenosis are:
- Normal deterioration due to aging
- Bone spurs
- Bulging discs
- Herniated discs
- Injury or trauma to the spine
- Paget’s disease
If you have been diagnosed with any of these spine conditions, you should contact your physician to determine if your condition is contributing to spinal stenosis. Left untreated, spinal stenosis can result is debilitating pain and a decrease in quality of life.
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
Patients who have spinal stenosis have several methods of treatment available to help alleviate pain. All patients should first try several methods of conservative treatment before seeking spine surgery.
Conservative treatment methods for spinal stenosis include:
If you have tried conservative treatment methods and have found no lasting pain relief, you might consider a surgical approach to treating your spinal stenosis pain.
At Laser Spine Institute, we offer an effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive stabilization procedures offer patients relief from chronic neck and back pain, while reducing the risk and recovery time* associated with traditional open back fusion. We invite you to learn more information about our minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spinal stenosis.
If you have any questions about the treatment options available for your spinal stenosis, please contact Laser Spine Institute. Our team will assist you with a no-cost review* of your MRI and discuss your candidacy for one of our minimally invasive, outpatient surgeries that can help you find relief from your pain and reclaim your quality of life.