Spinal stenosis is defined as a narrowing of the spinal canal, causing constriction of the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis can occur in any region of the spine for a number of possible reasons, including aging, arthritis, and trauma.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include numbness, pain, and loss of motor control. The symptoms are usually influenced by the location of the spinal stenosis.
Three common types are cervical stenosis, lumbar stenosis, and foraminal stenosis. The experts at Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence utilize the most advanced medical technology and cutting-edge procedures to treat spinal stenosis in the most minimally invasive and effective means possible, providing the best available spinal stenosis surgery in Los Angeles.
Types of Spinal Stenosis
Cervical Stenosis – Cervical stenosis is one of the most common forms of spinal stenosis. Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck, known as the cervical area. Cervical spinal stenosis is normally caused by changes in the shape of the spinal canal that occur with age. This type of stenosis is most common in people over the age of 50.
As we age, the discs in our spine may begin to bulge, the ligaments that connect the vertebrae may thicken, and surrounding tissue may degrade. These age-related issues can lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal, causing spinal stenosis. Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis usually develop over a period of time and only become pronounced when the nerves or spinal cord are compressed.
These symptoms include stiffness, numbness, or pain in the neck, shoulders, arms, and legs, as well as possible loss of strength, feeling, and some motor skills. When the compression of the spinal cord becomes severe to the point of causing damage, cervical stenosis can become crippling.
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Lumbar Stenosis – Along with cervical stenosis, lumbar stenosis is one of the most common forms. Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, known as the lumbar area. This narrowing can compress and irritate the nerves that extend out from the spinal cord, as well as compress the spinal cord itself.
Like cervical stenosis, lumbar stenosis is most often caused by age-related changes in the shape and size of the spinal canal. Certain conditions like osteoarthritis can lead to bone spurs, or bone growths, around the spinal canal that place pressure on the spinal cord. The thickening of ligaments and the displacement of discs are also causes of lumbar spinal stenosis.
The severity of lumbar stenosis symptoms can vary depending on the case. They may include pain and stiffness in the legs that can get worse when you walk, pain in the lower back, and loss of bowel and bladder control.
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Foraminal Stenosis – Foraminal stenosis is different from lumbar and cervical spinal stenosis in that the latter are categorized by location, while foraminal stenosis can occur in any area of the spine. Foraminal stenosis is a narrowing of the foramen, or foraminal canal. This is a small canal that the nerves exit through at every level of the spine.
When the foraminal canal is narrowed, these exiting nerves can become constricted. Foraminal stenosis has the same typical causes of lumbar and cervical stenosis, including bone growths, bulging discs, and thickened ligaments. This narrowing can lead to symptoms of radicular pain, which is pain that radiates into other parts of the body, such as down the leg. The radiating pain can also be accompanied by loss of certain motor skills, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
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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, the world-renowned spine specialists at the Spinal Stenosis Center of Excellence are here to help. Our amazing team of surgeons provides the very best in spinal stenosis care, with a patient friendly approach in an unmatched outpatient facility. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our experts, call today at 888.538.0565 or use our contact form.