Spinal stenosis can be a debilitating and painful condition that halts normal life. But at the Re Innovative Neuroscience Institute, expert neurosurgeons apply decades of experience, superior technical skills, and state-of-the-art technologies to restore your normal self.
With advanced knowledge of the full scope of nonsurgical, minimally invasive, and surgical procedures, the Re team personalizes your care to deliver the best results.
Call the office at (941) 893-2688 to schedule an appointment if you are looking to find relief from spinal pain.
WHAT IS IT?
Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal, leads to pressure on the nerves that run through the spine. The condition is categorized by where it is located on your spine. Cervical stenosis refers to a narrowing in your spine toward your neck, while lumbar stenosis, which is more common, occurs in the part of your spine toward your lower back.
Some people may experience no symptoms. Others may have numbness, tingling, pain, or muscle weakness. Symptoms may worsen over time. The symptoms vary based on the stenosis location and which nerves are under pressure.
In cervical stenosis, common symptoms include:
Standing, walking, and balance difficulty
Numbness and tingling in your arm, hand, foot, or leg
Weakness in your arm, hand, foot, or leg
In the most severe cases, there can be problems with the bowel or bladder, known as urinary urgency and incontinence.
In lumbar stenosis, common symptoms include:
Numbness and tingling in your leg or foot
Weakness in your leg or foot
It is also common to have cramping or pain in one or both legs after walking or standing for extended periods of time. Sitting down or bending forward often relieves these symptoms.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
While some are born with a smaller spinal canal, the narrowing associated with spinal stenosis is usually due to one of these few causes.
Osteoarthritis, common with aging, causes wear and tear on your spinal bones. This can lead to bone spurs (an overgrowth of bone) within the spinal canal. Paget’s disease, which affects adults, can also lead to bone overgrowth and stenosis inside the spinal canal.
A herniated disc refers to any damage to the soft shock-absorbing cushions that lie between your vertebrae. With age, these cushions tend to dry out, making them susceptible to cracking. Once the disc is cracked, the inner material can escape and put pressure on the nerves within the spinal canal.
Ligaments, the strong cords that help keep your spine bones together, tend to thicken and stiffen with age. Once thickened, they can bulge within the spinal canal and put pressure on the nerves.
Any kind of spinal injury, like those from car accidents, can cause vertebral fracture or dislocation. As a result, the spinal canal may be damaged or bone may be displaced, putting pressure on the nerves.
Spinal tumors are abnormal growths within the spinal cord, either on the membranes covering the spinal cord or within the space between the spinal cord and vertebra. Identified by imaging via an MRI or CT, these uncommon growths can also generate pressure on the nerves.
HOW CAN IT BE TREATED?
Following your diagnosis, there are a number of treatment options. Choosing the right option depends on your health and the severity of stenosis.
These options may include:
Medication for pain
In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Such minimally invasive microsurgical treatments include:
In a laminectomy, also known as a decompression surgery, the back portion of the vertebra (called the lamina), which is responsible for narrowing the spinal canal, is removed. This creates more space within the canal, thereby reducing pressure on the nerves. In some cases, spinal strength may be reinforced with metal hardware and a bone graft to link neighboring vertebra.
A laminotomy is similar to a laminectomy, except only part of the lamina is removed instead of the entire lamina. A hole is created within the affected vertebra that is just large enough to reduce the local pressure.
The foramina are the small holes that nerves pass through between vertebra. If there is a blockage or pressure on a nerve, the hole is enlarged to give the nerves sufficient passage.
If you are suffering from spinal stenosis or have experienced any of its symptoms, call the Re Innovative Neuroscience Institute today at (941) 893-2688 to set up a consultation appointment.