Stenosis refers to a condition that involves an abnormal narrowing. With spinal stenosis, it's your spinal canal that becomes narrower.
The spinal canal is the tunnel formed by your vertebrae, which protects your spinal cord. The spinal cord is part of your central nervous system (CNS), a column of nerve tissue with nerves branching off through gaps in the vertebrae to spread across your body.
Narrowing of the spinal canal can put pressure on the nerves, resulting in chronic back pain.
Any tissue damage or inflammation in your spinal column can lead to spinal stenosis, including:
The most common causes of spinal stenosis are wear-and-tear and the aging process. For instance, degenerative disc disease causes the rubbery shock-absorbing discs between your vertebrae to get drier, flatter, and more rigid. This hardening changes the contours of your spine and could make it narrower.
Degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis – another common wear-and-tear disorder – put pressure on your facet joints, which link the vertebrae in your spine. The result is less space for your nerves.
If you have spinal stenosis, you might also have osteophytes (bone spurs). These bony growths are your body's attempt to reinforce a weakening or damaged spine. Unfortunately, they often cause pain and frequently contribute to spinal stenosis and pinched nerves.
Spinal stenosis may be present without causing symptoms if your nerves aren’t under pressure. If there is nerve compression, it typically causes pain in your lower back, buttocks, and hips, and down your legs.
You might also have a sensation of heaviness in your legs and experience weakness, tingling, or cramping. Sitting down or leaning forward can improve your symptoms, as it relieves nerve constriction.
The focus of your treatment at Goodlife Physical Medicine is to relieve the nerve pressure spinal stenosis can cause. The team can often achieve this through chiropractic manipulation and physical therapies, but in some cases, further treatment is necessary.
The Goodlife Physical Medicine team offers a range of cutting edge non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis, including:
If you have symptoms of spinal stenosis, the Goodlife Physical Medicine team can help relieve your symptoms without the need for invasive surgery. Call them today to find out more or book an appointment online.