The term stenosis refers to a condition in which a channel in the body narrows abnormally, in the case of spinal stenosis it refers to the narrowing of the channel the spinal nerves pass through. A condition that becomes more common as a patient passes 50, it can cause radiating pain, numbness, or weakness caused by nerves being compressed in the narrowed channel. The causes of spinal stenosis are well known and can include herniated discs, tumors, overgrown bone, and spinal injuries. The narrowing of the spinal column compresses nerves, placing pressure on them and causing the symptoms. Dr. Yevgeniy Khavkin has been providing care and treatment for cervical spinal stenosis as your pain management doctor in Las Vegas, NV for many years.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis refers to those cases where stenosis occurs in the vertebrae of the neck and is identifiable by symptoms including tingling and numbness throughout the arms, legs, feet, and hands. In severe cases, balance and the ability to walk may be impacted, as well as a loss of bowel and bladder control. In these cases, immediate emergent care should be sought.
1. What symptoms indicate cervical spinal stenosis?
The most common symptoms are listed above, and include numbness and tingling in the limbs. In severe cases balance is impacted, as is the ability to walk properly, with the worst instances involving loss of control of the bladder and bowels.
2. Is it possible for spinal stenosis to occur in the upper back?
Typically this condition appears in the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine, though it isn’t unheard of for thoracic versions of the condition to happen. As the upper back tends to move much less than the rest of the spine, it is uncommon in this area.
3. Why does age increase the frequency of spinal stenosis cases?
As we go through our lives our spine becomes worn through normal usage, and in the beginning of stenosis, it’s typically asymptomatic. As the spine continues to degenerate the condition worsens, eventually presenting with symptoms.
4. Will bed rest and relaxation help with spinal stenosis?
To a limited degree resting the muscles can relieve some pain, but too much inactivity can actually aggravate the condition and accelerate the degeneration of the spine.
5. How is pain from spinal stenosis treated?
How this condition is treated is dependent on your specific case, as well as how severe your symptoms are. Over the counter pain relievers are often prescribed in mild cases, if you’re having difficulty sleeping they may be accompanied by anti-depressants. In more severe cases anti-seizure medication may be prescribed to help ease pain from nerves that have become compressed. In the worst cases, narcotic pain relievers may be suggested until more permanent relief can be found.
6. Is it possible to correct spinal stenosis?
In mild to moderate cases of spinal stenosis its possible to provide significant relief from the condition. If your condition is the result of tumors then surgical removal may be an option, while ligaments that have become thickened may be remediable through a decompression treatment. In those cases where it’s appropriate physical therapy may be used. Ultimately the right treatment for your case will be revealed through a consultation with your physician.