Spinal stenosis is more common than you may think. In fact, the majority of people over the age of fifty show some signs of stenosis in their spine. As we age, the structure of the spinal bones and discs can change and force the spinal canal to constrict.
However, it’s not until there isn’t enough room for the nerves or spinal cord that symptoms emerge. Spinal stenosis can interfere with the function of the spinal nerves or spinal cord. It can also create more symptoms than just pain. Alterations to motor skills can occur along with trouble balancing, numbness, and loss of strength.
The types of symptoms depend on the degree of the stenosis and the location. Some spinal stenosis cases are treatable with conservative options like injections, medication, and physical therapy, but surgery is often required for complete treatment of the underlying problem. The expert surgical team at Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence is highly regarded for their unmatched quality of care, making the Center the top choice in Los Angeles stenosis treatment.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis occurs when the area around the spinal cord or spinal nerves begins to tighten and restrict. Both the nerves and spinal cord typically have ample room between them and their containing structures. When that space is significantly diminished, pressure is placed on them and they can become irritated and constricted. This can happen in any region of the spine inside the spinal canal or foramen.Pinched nerves normally happen first and the symptoms are usually less severe than when the spinal cord is restricted, but both can occur when the condition significantly degrades.
Spinal stenosis is frequently the result of degenerative changes with age, such as disc degeneration. As we age, the discs in our back begin to dry out, break down, and shrink. This stresses the facet joints and can trigger bone growths along with ligament thickening and cartilage wear. When this form of degeneration progresses it restricts the room around the spine and nerves.
What are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
There are many possible symptoms that can arise from spinal stenosis. However, spinal stenosis will not always have symptoms, as symptoms only appear when the nerves or spinal cord become irritated. The symptoms are largely dependent on the location and type of stenosis that has developed.
Some spinal stenosis symptoms may even be mistaken for separate conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome. They can range from a numbness and tingling sensation, to a crippling reduction of physical abilities. The nature of spinal stenosis makes it very important to seek the attention of a spine expert when symptoms are detected.
Symptoms of Cervical Stenosis can include:
- Pain, stiffness, or numbness in the neck, shoulders, and extremities
- Issues with balancing or coordination
Symptoms of Lumbar Stenosis can include:
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs, feet, and posterior
- Pain in the lower back
- Foot drop
- Stiffness in the legs, thighs, and posterior
Symptoms of Foraminal Stenosis can include:
- Radicular Pain – a deep, constant pain that can radiate into the extremities and other parts of the body
- Tingling, numbness, and a prickling sensation in the limbs
- Impairment of certain motor functions
Many untreated cases will become more severe as time goes on. Since spinal stenosis develops over time, the symptoms can commonly worsen as the condition advances. This makes early detection and proper treatment of spinal stenosis very important. When spinal stenosis is responsible for significant disturbance or damage to the nerves or spinal cord, serious and crippling consequences can result.
Contact a Spinal Stenosis Expert in Los Angeles
If you are suffering from symptoms that may be related to spinal stenosis, or have been told that you may need surgery for spinal stenosis, contact the world-renowned spine specialists at the Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence. Our experienced surgical team takes pride in providing the highest level of spinal care, using the most advanced techniques and technologies for specialized treatment in every case. If you would like to schedule a consultation, call today us at 888.538.0565 or use our contact form.