Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the opening in the vertebrae where the spinal cord is located. When the small spinal canal becomes smaller, the spinal cord and/or the nerve roots contained in the canal can become compressed or “pinched.” This can produce cramping, weakness, numbness or pain. The parts of the body affected depend on where the narrowing occurs.
Most often, spinal stenosis occurs in the lumbar region of the spine. Here it affects the lower back and legs. When it occurs in the cervical area, it can cause symptoms in the neck, shoulders or arms.
In general, people over 50 are most at risk for spinal stenosis. The narrowing of the spinal canal often occurs as a result of osteoarthritis of the spinal column. Wear and tear or aging can affect the vertebrae and the discs that separate them. Another cause is the thickening of the ligaments in the back. When the ligaments get stiff and thick, they might bulge into the spinal canal. Bulging discs can also compress the nerves.
Getting older is not the only factor. Others include:
- Being born with a narrow spinal canal – this is congenital stenosis
- Being female
- Being over 50
- Having a previous injury to the spine
- Having had spinal surgery
- Inflammatory spondylarthritis
Additional medical conditions that increase your risk for spinal stenosis are spinal tumors and Paget’s Disease.
Not everyone who has spinal stenosis experiences symptoms. For those who do, symptoms may get worse over time. The onset of symptoms is gradual and varies according to where the stenosis is located and which nerves are being pinched.
When to See a Doctor
If you experience any of the symptoms related to spinal stenosis, you should seek medical attention. There are non-surgical treatments available to help alleviate the discomfort. Physical therapy and modifying your activity are two popular methods of treatment.
For the best outcome, it is important to seek help sooner rather than waiting until the pain becomes unbearable or begins to affect your activities. Sovereign Rehabilitation professionals will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to bring you relief from your discomfort. We provide effective therapy, and we make life feel better. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.
Posted on behalf of Sovereign Rehabilitation
5555 Peachtree Dunwoody Rd, Suite 225
Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 835-3340