Spinal stenosis is a condition that affects the spinal column, resulting in a narrowing of the spaces within the spine. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms, legs, and back. Spinal stenosis is most commonly seen in older adults, but it can affect people of all ages.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spaces within the spinal column become more narrow than normal. This can occur in any part of the spine, but it is most common in the neck (cervical) and lower back (lumbar) regions. When the spaces within the spine become narrower, it can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to symptoms such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms, legs, and back.
Causes Of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis can be caused by a number of different factors. Some of the most common causes of spinal stenosis include:
Arthritis: Arthritis can cause the bones and tissues within the spine to break down, leading to a narrowing of the spinal column.
Disc degeneration: Over time, the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the spine can wear down, leading to a narrowing of the spinal column.
Injuries: Injuries to the spine can cause the bones and tissues within the spine to shift or become misaligned, leading to a narrowing of the spinal column.
Tumors: Tumors within the spinal column can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to a narrowing of the spinal column.
Congenital conditions: Some people are born with a narrow spinal canal, which can lead to spinal stenosis later in life.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the location of the narrowing within the spine. Some of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Pain or cramping in the legs, thighs, or buttocks, which may be worsened by standing or walking
- Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet
- Weakness in the arms, legs, or back
- Problems with balance or coordination
- Loss of bladder or bowel control (in severe cases)
How To Care For Spinal Stenosis
Trigger Point Injections-Trigger point injections contain a combination of two local anesthetics: lidocaine and bupivacaine. These medications vasodilate the vessels of the muscle allowing more blood flow to the muscle. This in turn provides more oxygen and nutrients, supplying the muscle with much-needed nourishment that it has been lacking while it was tight and “bound up.” In addition to vasodilation, the use of the needle for the injections creates pathways for the blood to flow into the trigger point and supply it with the oxygen and nutrients it has been craving.
Chiropractic Care– Chiropractic care is a drug-free and non-surgical care method that is particularly useful for chronic pain management. Residents of Vancouver, Washington, and the surrounding areas can achieve optimal wellness by utilizing a variety of treatment modalities to treat pain associated with the spine. Two tools commonly used during a treatment sessions are arthrostim and the percussor. Arthrostim is like a “little jackhammer” that is able to mobilize the joints without straining the joint or causing the patient discomfort. Many patients have degenerative disc disease, stenosis, or arthritis in their back and neck, and aggressive, quick adjustments can be painful or harmful to their spine. The arthrostim is used to gently adjust the joints and provide patients with relief and increased mobility. While the percussor is a deep-tissue myofascial release instrument that is able to release muscle spasms, deep tissue tightness, and muscle strains.
Laser Therapy– Laser therapy generates a photochemical response in damaged tissue by a process called photobiomodulation. This process stimulates healing on a cellular level by enabling cells to produce energy (ATP) more rapidly. In other words, laser energy can jumpstart recovery in your damaged cells by converting light energy into cellular energy. The laser increases blood flow, decreases inflammation, increases wound healing, and facilitates the body to heal.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression– Decompression stretches the spine and disc in a unique way creating negative pressure in the disc. The negative pressure causes a vacuum-like effect pulling the disc material back into the middle of the disc which takes the pressure off of the nerve. In other words, this reverses the compression of the disc, also known as decompression. Clinical research shows that Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression improves biomechanics in the spinal disc, provides significant pain relief, and improves the overall function of the spine.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause significant pain and discomfort, but there are a number of ways to manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. If you are experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, it’s important to talk to a doctor as soon as possible. By taking a proactive approach to managing spinal stenosis, individuals can improve their overall health and well-being.