Spinal stenosis occurs when the spaces within your spine narrow, putting pressure on the surrounding nerves and causing pain.
Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis and Treatment at Inspira
There are several types of spinal stenosis. Lumbar stenosis, which affects the part of your spine in your lower back, is the most common form. Cervical stenosis is characterized by a narrowing in the part of the spine that’s located in your neck.
Other conditions such as herniated discs, tumors or traumatic spinal injuries can lead to narrowing of the spinal canal or swelling of the spinal cord.
All types often result in pain, numbness and muscle weakness. Symptoms typically worsen over time if left untreated.
In addition to localized pain and numbness, other symptoms include:
- Muscle weakness of the arm, hand, foot or leg
- Trouble walking
- Problems with balance
- In serious cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction
To understand the severity of your condition, your doctor will likely conduct a series of imaging tests that may include a CT scan, MRI or X-rays. Depending on your results, you may be able to successfully manage symptoms with nonoperative treatments such as physical therapy, medication or steroid injections.
If these methods are unsuccessful, surgery can decompress the area of stenosis and relieve pressure on the nerves. The most common procedure is called a laminectomy, which occurs when the back part (lamina) of the affected vertebra is removed. Your surgeon may consider other minimally invasive surgical approaches to remove portions of bone or lamina.