What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal Stenosis is a condition resulting from narrowing of nerve channels in the spine, causing compression on a nerve or nerves. Spinal Stenosis can occur in the neck, causing generalized pain, numbness, tingling, weakness and pain in an arm. It also can occur in the low back causing numbness, generalized pain, tingling, weakness and pain in a leg. The symptoms follow the path of the nerve or nerves that are compressed. The path of the symptoms assists the physicians at the Institute to determine what nerve is involved.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis is more common as a person ages. As spurs form on the bones of the spine, there is often shifting of the vertebrae of the spine, thickening of the ligaments and joint swelling, all contributing to a narrowing of the nerve channels and possible nerve compression.
Symptoms Associated with Spinal Stenosis
The symptoms caused by spinal stenosis depend on the nerves affected but at minimum typically include neck or back pain. The nerves exiting from the neck control the muscles of the arms and neck and carry the sensations of feeling, such as touch, hot, cold and pain. The nerves exiting from the middle part of the back control the abdomen and chest and supply them with sensation. The nerves from the lower back are in control of the muscles for the legs and buttocks and carry the sensations of feeling in the lower part of the body. When these nerves are compressed, the person feels numbness, pain and tingling in the affected part of the body.
Treatment of Spinal Stenosis
Patients with symptoms of spinal stenosis should see a pain management physician immediately, especially if there is muscle weakness or loss of sensation. Treatment will vary, depending on the symptoms and the nerve or nerves involved. A careful and thorough examination will be performed. Once a diagnosis is made, by a pain management physician, precisely localized injections can often reduce the pressure and inflammation of the affected nerve and stop the pain, numbness and weakness resulting from the nerve compression and irritation.
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