Spinal Stenosis

ExitCare ImageSpinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the canals of your spine (vertebrae).

CAUSES

Spinal stenosis is caused by areas of bone pushing into the central canals of your vertebrae. This condition can be present at birth (congenital). It also may be caused by arthritic deterioration of your vertebrae (spinal degeneration).

SYMPTOMS

  • Pain that is generally worse with activities, particularly standing and walking.

  • Numbness, tingling, hot or cold sensations, weakness, or weariness in your legs.

  • Frequent episodes of falling.

  • A foot-slapping gait that leads to muscle weakness.

DIAGNOSIS

Spinal stenosis is diagnosed with the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT).

TREATMENT

Initial therapy for spinal stenosis focuses on the management of the pain and other symptoms associated with the condition. These therapies include:

  • Practicing postural changes to lessen pressure on your nerves.

  • Exercises to strengthen the core of your body.

  • Loss of excess body weight.

  • The use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling and inflammation in your nerves.

When therapies to manage pain are not successful, surgery to treat spinal stenosis may be recommended. This surgery involves removing excess bone, which puts pressure on your nerve roots. During this surgery (laminectomy), the posterior boney arch (lamina) and excess bone around the facet joints are removed.