What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal cord in the neck or the spinal nerve roots in the lower back are compressed which often leads to sciatica and leg tingling, weakness, or numbness. Additionally, arm pain is a typical symptom of cervical spinal stenosis. For cervical spinal stenosis with myelopathy, difficulty with coordination often occurs creating pain and long term issues.

Stenosis treatment may include non-surgical options from your chiropractors and physiotherapists to contain and ease the pain the individual may be facing.

What are symptoms of spinal stenosis?

Symptoms usually develop over time as your nerves become more compressed and may face issues such as:

  • leg or arm weakness
  • lower back pain in usual positions such as walking or sitting
  • numbness spreading in your legs or buttocks
  • difficulty in maintaining balance 

Sitting in a chair usually helps relieve these symptoms that may require consultation from your trusted physiotherapists and chiropractors . However, they’ll return with periods of standing or walking.

What causes spinal stenosis?

Furthermore, some people are born with a small spinal canal as most spinal stenosis occurs when something happens to the narrow open space within the spine. Causes of spinal stenosis may include:

  • Overgrowth of bone. Wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis on your spinal bones can prompt the formation of bone spurs, which can grow into the spinal canal. Paget’s disease, a bone disease that usually affects adults, also can cause bone overgrowth in the spine.
  • Herniated disks. The soft cushions that act as shock absorbents between your vertebrae tend to dry out with age. Cracks in a disk’s exterior may allow some of the soft inner material to escape and press on the spinal cord or nerves.
  • Thickened ligaments. The tough cords that help hold the bones of your spine together can become stiff and thickened over time. These thickened ligaments can bulge into the spinal canal.
  • Tumors. Abnormal growths can form inside the spinal cord, within the membranes that cover the spinal cord or in the space between the spinal cord and vertebrae. These are uncommon and identifiable on spine imaging with an MRI or CT.
  • Spinal injuries. Car accidents and other trauma can cause dislocations or fractures of one or more vertebrae. Displaced bone from a spinal fracture may damage the contents of the spinal canal. Swelling of nearby tissue immediately after back surgery also can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.

Prevention Tips:

It is impossible to cure spinal stenosis but can be slowed down by:

  • Regular exercise
  • Regular stretching to increase range of motion
  • Maintaining good posture
  • Managing your weight
  • Avoid smoking and smokers

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