Symptoms of spinal stenosis occur when there is abnormal narrowing or compression of the spinal canal. The aberrant change of the canal may result in discomfort and extreme pain including other symptoms. A medical attention is needed immediately a patient experiences the symptoms of spinal stenosis.
There are generally two types of spinal stenosis, which include cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis. A majority of the symptoms may be experienced in both cases of stenosis. In lumbar stenosis, it is considered a common affliction but the cervical stenosis is more dangerous because it involves compression of spinal cord. The spinal cord is a delicate part of body considering that it hosts the nervous system.
Here are the Common Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
- Lumbar stenosis may show symptoms such as:
- Loss of balance, which results in difficulty in walking or falling.
- Radiating numbness, tingling, or weakness of one and at times both legs.
- Foot and leg pain or neurogenic claudication due to certain postures.
- Sciatica pain that may be associated with numbness resulting from irritation of the sciatic nerve.
Whenever there is a severe spinal stenosis, it may affect nerves in the bowel and bladder resulting in incontinence.
The symptoms of cervical stenosis include Pain, weakness, numbness, or cramping in arms.
Pain in back, arms, shoulders, and neck.
When the cervical spinal stenosis is due to pressure on the spinal cord, other signs such as numbness and weakness in feet and legs may occur.
Diagnosis of spinal stenosis begins with physical examination and complete medical history of a patient. You should discuss the symptoms with a doctor. The physical examination coupled with the symptoms a patient has had can help the doctor determine the severity of spinal stenosis and the right treatment to be used.
At times, diagnosis can be difficult. The symptoms of this condition may also be witnessed in other common conditions. A medical imaging may be considered to help diagnose the condition more thoroughly. Imaging involves the use of X-Rays, computerized tomography scans, and magnetic resonance imaging.
Who are Likely to Have Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is common among men and women aged 50 and above. This is due to aging process. Nonetheless, spinal stenosis may also occur in young people and children who have birth defects, cancerous tumors, or benign tumors. The condition may also occur in people who have had major trauma from accidents. This may be due to bone dislocations or fractures that result in spinal cord damage and compression of the nerves as well as the spinal cord.
What are the treatment options?
When a diagnosis has been confirmed, doctors may recommend a patient to have a non-invasive treatment. Among the common non-surgical treatment options that can be used to treat spinal stenosis are such as the use of anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs to help reduce pain. Analgesics may also be used to help relieve pain.
Restricted daily activity and rest
Patients may need to indulge in spinal stenosis exercises and other physical therapy to assist in stabilizing the spine. These exercises also reduce symptoms of spinal stenosis.
In case the condition is serious, your reliable pain management doctor may recommend surgery.