ABOUT Spinal Stenosis - Symptoms, Risks and Treatment
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the canal in your spine. This narrowing can lead to compression, pain, or even nerve damage.
When this condition occurs it requires immediate medical attention because when the spinal cord is compressed it can have a long-term impact on quality of life and quality of movement.
Spinal stenosis develops when one or more of your vertebral bodies become too narrow causing narrowing at the spinal cord's entrance at the foramen magnum.
This most commonly occurs in people over age 50 years old with a family history of drooping head syndrome, congenital syphilis, spina bifida, or tumor lysis syndrome.
What Are The Symptoms Of Spinal Stenosis?
Symptoms of spinal stenosis can include:
· Pain in the lower back, buttock, leg, or foot
· Tingling and numbness in hands and feet
· Loss of urine control or pain while sitting or standing
· Difficulty moving the legs and feet (paralysis)
· Shivering, sweating, itching, and nausea while sitting at rest. Numbness in the legs is possibly more significant for this symptom. The person may need to lie down or sit on a couch or stool for relief. They will find that trying to walk causes pain. They report that they cannot put any weight on their legs at all because walking causes severe discomfort.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment
Your treating physician will recommend observation, medications, bed rest, exercise, or surgery. If you are having difficulty with mobility or are experiencing nerve damage, surgery may be recommended at the same time you are placed on bed rest.
The primary goal of any patient with spinal stenosis is to avoid surgery that will further compromise their nerve function or ability to walk. With your doctor's assistance, your limited mobility resulting from spinal stenosis may be changed into an active lifestyle that supports pain reduction and quality of life for as long as possible.
As with all neuro-rehabilitation patients, spinal stenosis causes weakness in the limbs. The severity of this weakness depends on the extent of your stenosis and how long it has been present.
If your nerve action potential (NAP) is normal or there is no nerve damage, you will not need neuroprosthetics. However, if you still have some disk bulging after several weeks of neurological rehabilitation, you may need a neuroprosthetic to help improve motor function.
Certain types of neuroprosthetics can be used for individuals with spinal stenosis during physical therapy sessions to help restore strength and mobility in legs that are weakened by the condition.
What Are The Risk Factors Of Spinal Stenosis?
The most common causes of spinal stenosis are degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, trauma, tumor removal, aging, spondylolisthesis, and spina bifida.
As we age we experience bone loss and less space in our vertebrae for the spinal cord to pass through. This reduces the ability of the nervous system to function normally and can cause permanent nerve damage that occurs as a result of compression.
Frequently Asked Questions on Spinal Stenosis
What Is The Cause Of Spinal Stenosis?
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, trauma, tumor removal, aging, spondylolisthesis, and spina bifida. As we age we experience bone loss and less space in our vertebrae for the spinal cord to pass through.
This reduces the ability of the nervous system to function normally and can cause permanent nerve damage that occurs as a result of compression.
How Does Post-Surgical Pain Relate To The Quality Of Life?
Pain followed by numbness in hands and feet can make a person with spinal stenosis feel less mobile. Neuroprosthetics can help them regain their mobility and decrease pain followed by numbness in hands and feet so they feel less inhibited in living life.
How Does Post-Surgical Pain Contribute To The Development Of Degenerative Arthritis?
A person with spinal stenosis who experiences severe pain, numbness in the hands and feet will tend to avoid movement.
This is because movement will cause aggravation of the spinal nerve damage already present. When movement is not part of your daily routine it can lead to osteoarthritis flare-ups that, in turn, can cause or worsen degenerative arthritis.
What Is The Prognosis If Spinal Stenosis Is Detected Early?
The prognosis for spinal stenosis depends on the type of above-disc bulge, if it is stable or unstable, and whether or not surgery was needed to reduce the bulge. If surgery was needed to reduce bulging, there are two types of surgical methods used.
The first method involves removing bone between two vertebrae. This requires placing a board between the vertebrae so that it helps to stabilize them after they have been removed. The second surgical method involves removing part of the disc space to insert steel rods into the disc space to prevent further narrowing down.