Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within your spine which can either impinge or put pressure on the nerves traveling through the spine. Although spinal stenosis can occur at any segment of the spine, it is most common in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) spine.
Wear-and-tear related to osteoarthritis is one of the primary causes of spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can be properly identified or diagnosed by utilizing imaging findings such as MRIs and CT scans of the spine.
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Even when evidence of spinal stenosis is confirmed with an MRI or CT scan, symptoms may still be mild or unnoticeable. However, symptoms may eventually start gradually and then worsen as time goes on.
Spinal stenosis symptoms can vary depending on the location of the stenosis and the nerves that are affected.
Cervical Spine Symptoms (Neck)
- Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot, or leg
- Weakness in a hand, arm, foot, or leg
- Issues with walking and/or balance
- Neck pain
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
Lumbar Spine Symptoms (Back)
- Numbness or tingling in a foot or leg
- Weakness in a foot or leg
- Pain or cramping in the legs when standing for long periods of time
- Back pain
Spinal Stenosis Risk Factors
- Being over the age of 50
- Trauma from an injury or accident
- Congenital spinal deformities such as scoliosis
- Herniated discs
Spinal Stenosis Treatments
Treatment options are dependent on the severity of your symptoms. Conservative treatments include physical therapy, chiropractic treatment, medication, and heat/cold application.
If symptoms do not improve with conservative treatments, epidural steroid injections may be recommended. If the symptoms are intolerable or jeopardizing your functionality such as significant weakness or coordination problems, surgery may be recommended to decompress and create additional space for the affected spinal cord or nerves.
If you’re looking for diagnosis or treatment options for spinal stenosis, the staff at the Oklahoma Center for Spine and Pain Solutions would love to visit with you about your next steps. Our team is fully equipped to properly diagnose and recommend treatment options, and we are often able to see new patients the same week they contact us.