Spinal Stenosis

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis refers to the loss of space inside the spinal canal. The condition can occur anywhere in the spine but is most common in the lumbar (low back) section of the spine. Age-related wear and tear on the spine can result in bulging discs, bone spurs, thickened spinal ligaments and enlarged joints near the spinal canal. These changes take up space inside the canal, resulting in narrowing that puts pressure on the nerves, causing irritation and inflammation.

People typically don’t develop spinal stenosis until later in life. A patient’s risk for developing the condition increase with age. It’s estimated there’s a nearly 20 percent chance of developing lumbar spinal stenosis by the time a person turns 60. Spinal stenosis can also affect younger individuals who were born with abnormally small spinal canals. People over the age of 65 with spinal stenosis frequently undergo spinal surgery as a last resort to alleviate their chronic pain and impaired mobility.

At Non-Surgical Orthopaedics in Marietta, GA we strive to help patients find relief from pain by treating spinal stenosis with minimally invasive pain management injections.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is most common among older adults but can also affect younger people born with small spinal canals and individuals with a history of back or neck injury.

Common causes of spinal stenosis include:

  •         Arthritis: The inflammation from arthritis causes wear and tear to the cartilage protecting the spine’s joints. The absence of cushioning forces the vertebrae to rub together, causing pain and swelling.
  •         Herniated discs: When the soft material inside a disc escapes, it can put painful pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
  •         Spinal injuries: Trauma from accidents can cause vertebrae within the spinal column to break and dislocate.
  •         Scoliosis: The condition causes an abnormal curvature of the spine, which can press on nerves and nerve roots.
  •         Thickened ligaments: The ligaments in your spine can become thick and stiff with age and bulge into the spinal canal.
  •         Spinal tumor: Cancerous tumors in the spinal canal can put pressure on the nerves.


What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?

For some people, spinal stenosis can be completely asymptomatic. Others will experience a variety of symptoms that may worsen overtime. Spinal stenosis can affect different parts of the body, such as the low back, the neck or the middle back. Patients may experience symptoms in different parts of the body depending on where the narrowing occurs.

Common spinal stenosis symptoms include:

  •         Pain and cramping in one or both legs (characteristic of spinal stenosis in the low back)
  •         Neck pain (characteristic of spinal stenosis in the neck)
  •         Pain that worsens with movement
  •         Muscle weakness
  •         Problems with bladder and bowel control

What Is the Treatment for Spinal Stenosis?

Symptoms of spinal stenosis typically respond well to conservative, non-invasive treatments. If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, your doctor will likely prescribe non-operative treatments such as:

  •         Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or aspirin
  •         Heat and cold therapy
  •         Physical therapy
  •         Pain management injections

How Can Pain Management Injections Help with the Treatment of Spinal Stenosis?

If you’re suffering from chronic back or neck pain, your orthopaedic doctor will want to diagnose exactly what’s causing your condition. They may perform a thorough physical examination, order imaging tests and ask you detailed questions about the pain sensations you’re experiencing.

Once your doctor can accurately pinpoint the underlying cause of your pain, such as spinal stenosis, they can prescribe a customized treatment plan to address your unique condition.

Pain management injections, such as epidural steroid injections, selective nerve root injections and platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections, can provide much-needed relief from your symptoms and increase your mobility. Unlike pain medications, the effects of pain management injections can last for several weeks or even months.

Periodic pain management injections can keep your symptoms at bay, allowing you to engage in everyday activities and enjoy life. They can also be an excellent alternative to invasive surgery, which can be hard on your body and force patients to endure long recovery periods.

If you’re suffering from spinal stenosis, you may find great relief from the non-surgical treatments offered at Non-Surgical Orthopaedics in Marietta and Carrollton.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our skilled physicians.