A common cause of back pain is spinal stenosis. What is spinal stenosis? It is the narrowing of the spinal canal space resulting in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. The increased pressure can lead to back pain, leg pain, arm pain and other troublesome symptoms. OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine® is available to patients living in the Arlington, Fort Worth and Dallas, Texas area suffering from spinal stenosis.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots leading to pain, numbness and weakness in various parts of the body including the legs and arms.
The human spine is made up of small bones, vertebras, which are stacked on top of one another. Muscles, ligaments, nerves and intervertebral discs are the additional parts of the spine. All of these parts work together allowing the body to move. As the body ages and the “wear and tear” effects of aging occur to the spine and the spinal canal may narrow. Some individuals are born with a back condition that leads to spinal stenosis, known as congenital spinal stenosis.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
Arthritis is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. Arthritis occurs when the discs degenerate and lose water content. As individuals age, the discs begin to dry out and weaken. This leads to the collapse or settling of the disc spaces and loss of disc height. A herniated disc, spondylolisthesis, spinal trauma and tumors of the spine can also lead to narrowing of the spinal canal.
What are Spinal Stenosis Symptoms?
In some cases of spinal stenosis, neck and back pain may not always be present. Most individuals experience numbness, weakness, cramping or general pain in the arms and legs. If the narrowing of the spinal canal pushes on a nerve root, an individual may experience sciatica, a radiating pain down the leg.
Spinal stenosis is diagnosed with a thorough medical history and physical examination. X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans and bone scans may also be used to rule out any other underlying medical conditions.
One of our pain management specialists may use a variety of treatment options including anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroid injections, anesthetic injections and physical therapy to alleviate the pain.
If you believe you have spinal stenosis or are wondering, “What is spinal stenosis?” call the physicians at OPTIMAL Pain & Regenerative Medicine® today.