When the area surrounding your spinal cord becomes too small, spinal stenosis develops. Your spinal cord and/or the nerves that branch off of it become irritated by this. Back or neck discomfort and tingling in your arms or legs are signs of spinal stenosis. Both the reasons and available treatments are numerous.
How frequent is spinal stenosis?
It occurs frequently. By the age of 50, up to 95% of persons have degenerative spinal abnormalities. One of those modifications is spinal stenosis. The most often diagnosis for patients over 65 having spine surgery is lumbar spinal stenosis.
What signs and symptoms are present in stenosis?
You may have any of the following symptoms in your neck, back, arms, or legs, depending on where and how severe your spinal stenosis is:
Spinal stenosis typically progresses gradually over time. For this reason, even if it appears on X-rays or other imaging tests, you might not have any symptoms for a long. Each person may experience symptoms differently and they may come and go.
Signs and symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis
Lumbar (low back) spinal stenosis signs and symptoms include:
- Your low back hurts.
- Your buttocks will feel this ache at first, and it will then travel down your leg. It can keep going into your foot.
- A heavy sensation in your legs that could cause cramping in one or both of your legs.
- Tingling or numbness (“pins and needles”) in your foot, leg, or buttocks.
- Pain that gets worse as you walk, stand up after standing up or walk downhill.
- Pain that goes away when you sit, walk uphill or lean forward.
Signs and Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis
Anywhere below the neck’s point of nerve compression is where cervical spinal stenosis symptoms might be felt. These signs include:
- Tingling or numbness in your leg, foot, arm, or hand
- Your arm, hand, leg, or foot may be weak or unsteady
- Balance issues
- reduced hand function, such as difficulty writing or buttoning shirts
Why does spinal stenosis occur?
There are many reasons for spinal stenosis. Your spinal canal may narrow due to several various changes or traumas. Two groups of causes may be made out of the causes:
- Acquired (arising postnatally)
- Congenital (present at birth)
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
Your healthcare professional will examine you physically, inquire about your symptoms, and go over your medical history. Your healthcare professional could press on various parts of your spine to feel any pain. They’ll probably ask you to bend in various ways so they can check to see if different spinal postures cause any symptoms.
For your doctor to “see” your spine and pinpoint the precise position, nature, and severity of the issue, you will also undergo imaging testing. These tests could consist of:
X-ray of the spine: X-rays, which only emit a minimal quantity of radiation, can display changes in bone structure. They might exhibit bone spurs or a reduction of disc height, for instance.
MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produces cross-sectional images of your spine using radio waves and a strong magnet. Your spinal cord, discs, and nerves can all be seen in great detail thanks to MRI. It can also reveal any tumours.
CT myelogram or CT scan: Through the use of many X-rays, a computed tomography (CT) scan can produce cross-sectional images of your spine. A contrast dye is used during a CT myelogram so your doctor can see your spinal cord and nerves more clearly.
What are the options for treating spinal stenosis?
There are numerous ways to treat it. The best ones include:
- the reason
- the location of the problem
How severe your symptoms are?
Your doctor might first advise at-home care if your symptoms are minor. Your doctor might advise physical therapy, drugs, injections, and ultimately surgery if these treatments don’t help and symptoms get worse.
Applying heat: In most cases, applying heat to relieve osteoarthritis pain is preferable. Heat promotes blood flow, which eases painful joints and relaxes your muscles.
Applying cold: Try ice, such as an ice pack, frozen gel pack, or a frozen bag of peas, if heat isn’t alleviating your symptoms. 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off are spent applying the ice. Ice helps to lessen inflammation, soreness, and swelling.
Fitness: Before beginning any fitness programme, speak with your healthcare physician. Additionally, it increases your flexibility and balance while bolstering the muscles that support your spine.
Your routine can be disrupted by back and neck pain. The good news is that spinal stenosis can be treated in a variety of ways. Discuss your alternatives with your healthcare professional when you visit. They are ready to assist.