Spinal stenosis pain
Spinal stenosis pain can originate in the neck or lower back. The symptoms can be extremely disruptive to your normal activities — taking you away from your family, your work and your favorite hobbies. The term “stenosis” means narrowing, which can be caused in the spinal column by a number of different conditions ranging from spinal arthritis, thickening of ligaments or a herniated disc. In rare cases, a person can be born with a narrow spinal canal due to heredity, but spinal stenosis is usually caused by aging.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis does not necessarily cause painful symptoms. If the narrowing occurs without interfering with the spinal cord or a nerve root, the condition can go undiagnosed for years. If you have been diagnosed with stenosis, then it is most likely because one or more of the following painful symptoms sent you to a physician for treatment:
- Pain can be a dull ache or a sharp, stabbing sensation in one location of the neck or back, or it can be a tingling or burning sensation that radiates from one spot along the spinal column to other areas of the body, such as the shoulders, hips, buttocks, arms or legs.
- You may have difficulty walking but will find relief when leaning forward and bracing on an object, such as a walker or shopping cart.
- Spinal stenosis pain can be chronic — primarily in moderate to severe cases — and can severely limit work- and leisure-related activities.
- Pain can be aggravated by motion, such as bending, twisting, standing, walking, or swinging a golf club, or by repetitive motions like heavy lifting.
- In cases of mild spinal stenosis, pain may persist, but it also may come and go over the course of a few days or a week. It may not stop you from most activities, but it can slow you down.
In addition to pain, spinal stenosis can cause stiffness in the neck (cervical region) or in the lower back (lumbar region). Spinal stenosis can also cause numbness and tingling in the extremities. Other spinal stenosis symptoms include cramping in the legs or arms and possibly headaches and dizziness.
Stenosis, and the pain that comes with it, can affect any part of the spine, but it more commonly affects the lumbar and cervical regions, with thoracic stenosis being rare. For example, if your pain or other symptoms are in the neck area and you also have difficulty walking, you may have cervical spinal stenosis.
You have treatment options
If you have been diagnosed with moderate or severe spinal stenosis and nothing seems to help, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about our outpatient treatments for this condition. Our minimally invasive procedures are safer and more effective than traditional open spine surgery, and can release pinched nerves to help you find meaningful relief from neck or back pain. Contact us and we can provide you with a no-cost review* of your MRI to determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.