Bellevue Pain and Wellness PLLC
Pain Management Physicians located in Bellevue, WA
Spinal stenosis the narrowing of the space inside the backbone. This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord nerves that travel through the spine. At Bellevue Pain and Wellness, Dr. Robert Bowers, board certified pain specialist can diagnose and treat spinal stenosis. To learn more about treating spinal stenosis or to book a consultation, call our office or make an appointment online today.
Spinal Stenosis Q&A
What is Spinal Stenosis?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down your back from your brain down to your buttocks. It travels through a canal called the spinal canal made of a stack of spinal bones from your skull to the tailbone. The spinal cord nerve roots branch out through the openings of each of the vertebrae to different areas of the body and communicate signals with the brain.
The spinal canal may be naturally small in some people, in others the canal may narrow. As the spinal canal narrows,there may be pressure placed on the spinal cord and nerves.This pressure can lead to different symptoms and these symptoms can worsen overtime as the space narrows more. Narrowing can also occur at where the nerve roots leave between the vertebrae.
What are the causes of spinal stenosis?
The most common causes of spinal stenosis is related to arthritis and wear and tear of the spinal bones and discs. Other causes include:
- Bone spurs . Some of the spinal bones may develop extra bone growth as a result of arthritis. This is called a bone spur. These spurs may push on the spinal cord.
- Herniated disc or bulging disc- Spinal discs are soft cushion padding between spinal bones. They act like shock absorbers between your spinal bones. If the disc bursts or bulges out of place, it can press on the spinal cord.
- Stiff ligaments- Chords that hold the spinal bones together may mineralize and stiffen over time and can place more pressure on the spinal cord.
- Trauma or injuries-Accidents that injury your spinal bones and move the spinal bones out of place. Any back surgeries may cause temporary swelling that can place pressure on the spinal cord.
- Spondylolisthesis- when one vertebra slips on of the stack of spinal bones, the spinal canal is no long in alignment and can place pressure on the spinal cord.
The risk of getting spinal stenosis increases with age and especially after the age of 50. People born with a narrow spinal canal or scoliosis are at higher risk of getting spinal stenosis. Young people are also susceptible to spinal stenosis via injuries.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
If the spinal stenosis occurs in the neck or cervical region of the spine some symptoms can include:
- Pain in neck
- Weakness in hand or arms
- Problems with balance and walk
- Bowel control issues
- Bladder control issues
- Sexual disfunction
- Numbness in hand or hards
If the spinal stenosis occurs in the lower back or lumbar region of the spine some symptoms can include:
- Pain in leg(s)
- Pain in lower back
- Burning or aching that radiates down the buttocks into the legs
- Cramping in leg(s)
- Tingling of the legs and feet. May be worsened with standing or walking
- Weakness of leg(s) or feet
What are treatments for spinal stenosis?
As with all treatment options, an experienced medical professional should take proper medical and physical history as well as perform a medical examination. Imaging may be necessary to help diagnose the reason why spinal stenosis is occurring. Some imaging may include x-rays, MRI and CT.
Treatment includes nonsurgical and surgical options. Non surgical options include getting physical therapy, wearing a brace, injections, and medication. Physical therapy can help strengthen back and abdominal muscles that Support the spine. Injections can help with pain and other symptom relief as well as reduce inflammation. Injections may be steroid injections or nerve blocks. Medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs ( NSAIDs), analgesics, antidepressants, and antiseizure medications. Non-surgical techniques are first line treatments and surgery is used as a last resort. Surgical options include decompression surgery, laminectomy, spinal fusion, laminoplasty, laminoplasty, foraminotomy, or discectomy. Non-invasive surgery is also used such as radiofrequency ablation.
For more information regarding spinal stenosis call Belleveue Pain and Wellness today to schedule a consultation.
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