Spinal Stenosis – Spine Surgeon in Columbia, South Carolina
Stenosis is a term used to describe an abnormal narrowing of a channel in the body in medical science, and spinal stenosis is a condition that affects many over the age of 50. The narrowing of the channel that your spinal nerves or cord run through can result in radiating pain, weakness, or numbness resulting from the compression of the nerves. There are multiple causes of spinal stenosis, including overgrowth of the bone, thickening of the ligaments that hold your spine, herniated discs, spinal injuries, or tumors. In each of these cases, the spinal column has suffered narrowing and compression and placed pressure on your nerves, leading to the symptoms.
Cervical spinal stenosis occurs in the neck and presents with numbness or tingling in the hands, arms, feet, or legs. You may also experience difficulty with walking or maintaining your balance, and in the worst cases experience difficulty with having proper bowel movements and bladder function. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs in the back and can result in the same tingling or weakness in your feet or legs, or pain and cramping if you stand for long periods of time. In this last, it’s exceptionally common for it to ease if you bend forward or sit down.
1. How will I know if I’m experiencing Spinal Stenosis?
There are a number of symptoms associated with spinal stenosis that you should watch for, and if you are experiencing them should discuss them with Dr. Peelle. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, see Dr. Peelle immediately.
2. Can Spinal Stenosis happen in the upper back?
While cervical and lumbar stenosis are far more common, thoracic stenosis is not unheard of. The minimal movement permitted by the upper spine tends to prevent the development of spinal stenosis.
3. Why is spinal stenosis common in older people?
It’s simply a matter of time. Spinal stenosis is a degenerative condition, and in its earliest stages tends to be asymptomatic. Additional, stenosis tends to accelerate with inactivity, so the reduced activity level of those in their later years can accelerate its development.
4. What kinds of treatment are there for pain from spinal stenosis?
The proper treatment for stenosis varies from case to case and is based on the severity of your symptoms and the circumstances causing it. In many cases, a OTC pain relievers may be administered, along with anti-depressants to aid in sleeping if its interfering. Pain from compressed nerves can be treated with anti-seizure medication such as gabapentin and pregabalin. In severe cases, short-term use of opioids may be considered.
5. Can spinal stenosis be corrected?
Depending on the cause of your spinal stenosis, significant relief can be provided. Tumors can be removed surgically, and thickened ligaments can be treated with a decompression procedure. Physical therapy is sometimes effective in less severe cases. The right treatment for your spinal stenosis should be discussed with Dr. Peelle, who will advise the proper course based on your symptoms and specific case.