Back pain can have many causes, some of which are difficult to identify. Spinal stenosis is a common cause of back pain in patients, but many people don’t know what it is or how to recognize its symptoms. This blog post will focus on the topic of spinal stenosis. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of spinal stenosis, as well as some of the available methods for treatment.
Spinal Stenosis Causes & Symptoms
The narrowing of the spinal canal, which is the hallmark of spinal stenosis, can be due to congenital defects, but is most often a result of the body degrading as we age (as a result of aging). This narrowing can occur in the cervical (neck) or the lumbar (low back) regions of the spine. The location of the symptoms will indicate the spinal level affected by the stenosis.
As the spine narrows, the nerves in the spine become compressed. This can lead to a variety of negative symptoms. The symptoms of spinal stenosis are varied and can include any or all of the following:
- Back pain
- Weakness and numbness in the back, legs, or extremities
- Bladder & bowel control issues
If left untreated, stenosis in the spine can lead to permanent damage to the spinal nerves, which can mean paralysis for the affected patient.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment Options
Treatment of spinal stenosis can be approached either surgically or non-surgically. Surgical intervention typically entails removing (reshaping?) portions of spinal discs and vertebrae in order to reduce narrowing in the spine and free up any impacted nerves. Most patients wait to have surgery until they have exhausted all their other non-surgical options for treating the stenosis. Conservative treatments that may be effective include pain medication, physical therapy, chiropractic, steroid injections, and more. PRP injections are another non-surgical treatment option for stenosis that uses a patient’s own blood cells to rejuvenate lost or damaged tissue.
If you are suffering from the signs and symptoms of spinal stenosis, contact a skilled back pain doctor to talk about your treatment options. Dr. Thorson has experience treating Minnesotans with back pain using a variety of methods. Call to set up your appointment with Dr. Thorson today!