What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the compression of spinal nerves caused by narrowing of the spinal canal and it is one of the common causes of neck and low back pain.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Depending on the affected region, symptoms may include neck pain radiating to arms and hands, back pain, burning or aching type of pain in the buttocks that radiates to the legs (sciatica), weakness in the legs or "foot drop”.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is mainly caused by ageing. Other causes include Paget’s disease, achondroplasia, spinal tumors and spinal injuries. As age advances the chances of developing osteoarthritis, disc degeneration and thickening of ligaments may increase and these conditions cause spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis may be treated with conservative treatment approaches such as the use of pain medications, physical therapy, steroid injections or acupuncture.
- Physical therapy: Physical Therapy involves stretching exercises, massage, and lumbar and abdominal strengthening.
- Anti-inflammatory medications: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) initially provide pain relief and reduce swelling.
- Steroid injections: Cortisone steroid injections are given around the nerves or in the "epidural space” to decrease swelling and pain.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture can be helpful in cases where the pain is less severe.
Surgery is considered for patients in whom conservative measures fail or significant weakness results, and may require a surgical consultation.