If your doctor has told you that you have spinal stenosis, you may be researching what exactly this is.
Stenosis is usually an age-related condition caused by the gradual deterioration of the spine through normal everyday activity. This natural wear usually goes unnoticed until there is interference with the nerves that run through the spine.
With spinal stenosis, the narrowing that occurs in the spinal column can compress either the spinal cord or the nerve roots that exit the spine, causing symptoms that can make even your simplest daily activities an ordeal.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is closely related to other degenerative spine conditions. The actual narrowing of the spine might be due to a bone spur or a bulging or herniated disc. When the already limited space the nerves have to travel through is narrowed even a little bit, nerve compression that causes chronic pain results. The exact symptoms experienced will depend on the location of the narrowing.
For example, stenosis in the cervical spine (neck) can cause the following symptoms:
- Pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the shoulders, arms and hands
- Pain in the neck or shoulders
- Trouble holding onto things
Here are some common symptoms you might experience from stenosis in the lumbar (lower back) region:
- Pain or cramping in the legs
- Burning pain in the hips or buttocks
- Tingling or numbness running down to the feet
- Weakness in the knees
In most cases of spinal stenosis, the first step is a course of conservative treatment. Always consult with your doctor to develop the best care plan for your needs and specific situation. Treatment options include posture correction, physical therapy, rest and over-the-counter pain medication.
When you have completed several weeks or months of these conservative methods without seeing the pain relief you require for your active life, surgery may become an option. At Laser Spine Institute, our skilled surgeons perform minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and more effective alternative to traditional back surgery. For many patients, our minimally invasive decompression surgery is recommended to remove of a small piece of the damaged spine from the pinched nerve.
However, if the cause of your stenosis is due to severe degeneration and you have been recommended for a fusion, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is a simpler, more precise option than an open back fusion. Instead of installing bulky hardware into the spine, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery simply replaces a damaged disc with an artificial one and/or inserts bone grafts to support the spine. Because we take a minimally invasive approach to spine surgery, our patients can experience a shorter recovery time§ and lower risk of complication compared to traditional spine surgery.
Contact us to learn how our minimally invasive procedures can help you find meaningful relief from neck and back pain.