Spinal Stenosis Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a health condition that affects the abnormal narrowing of your spinal canal. Firstly, this narrowing directly will impact the amount of space your spinal cord and nerve roots have in the spinal canal. Secondly, as spinal stenosis progresses, your spinal cord and nerves will become compressed or squeezed. Although, spinal stenosis can occur in any region of the spine, it is most common in the cervical spine and lumbar spine.
Cause of Spinal Stenosis
The primary cause of spinal stenosis is osteoarthritis (OA). In other words, the cause of spinal stenosis is not a single disease, but, a variety of disorders. Mostly leading to the structural or functional failure of one or more of your joints. OA is the most common cause of chronic joint pain. This cause involves the entire joint, including adjacent muscles, underlying bone, ligaments, joint lining (synovium), and the joint capsule.
Spinal Stenosis Treatments:
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Hot/cold therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications, including oral cortisone medications
- Epidural steroid (cortisone) injections
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Along with Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression
- Lastly, Surgery
Low Back Surgery for Spinal Stenosis
Patients with increasing muscle weakness and severe spinal cord compression, aka myelopathy, should consider surgery to help prevent permanent nerve damage.
The goal of surgery is to physically create more space and relieve compression of the spinal cord and its nerves. One of the surgical options available is surgical decompression. This surgery removes bone and/or tissues.
In the lumbar spine, the most common surgical decompression procedure is a laminectomy. You can watch a short video of a laminectomy surgery here. This surgery removes a portion of your bone, (the lamina) to create additional space for the cord and its nerves. However, if too much of the bone needs to be removed, you will need a spinal fusion to stabilize your spine.
Neck Surgery for Spinal Stenosis
The most common surgery is an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion (ACDF). Firstly, the spinal disc needs to be removed between two vertebrae. In addition, any bone spurs pushing on the nerves or spinal cord will also be removed. Secondly, a bone graft will replace the disc, and a metal plate will be attached to the front of your vertebrae to help the bone grow together or fuse. However, if multiple cervical levels are involved, one or more of the bones will need to be removed. This procedure is called a corpectomy. Lastly, after the bone(s) are removed, a bone graft will replace them along with a plate.
Cervical spinal stenosis can be treated surgically from the back of the neck. Similarly to the lumbar spine, a laminectomy will need to be performed. This procedure, fuses one cervical vertebra to an adjacent cervical vertebra. This procedure prevents abnormal movement or instability. In addition, Laminoplasty can also be a surgical option for cervical stenosis. This neck surgery involves creating more space in the back of the spinal canal by opening the back of the spine like a door, and leaving it open with a combination of bone grafts or plates.
However, in severe cases, prolonged compression of the nerves can cause permanent nerve damage that not even surgery can reverse. Therefore, something to keep in mind is that back surgery is invasive, and specific post-operative management is crucial for long-term success.
What Is the Prognosis for Spinal Stenosis After Treatment?
Many patients get relief of their symptoms with non-surgical treatment. Although, every case is different, for some patients surgery may be the only option for some patients with advanced stenosis. Therefore, one thing to keep in mind is that arthritis of the spine is progressive even after surgery. As a result, it is not uncommon to develop new symptoms years after surgery either at the same level or at nearby levels requiring a second or third surgery.
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression
Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression (NSSD) slowly relaxes and stretches your spine, removing the downward forces of gravity and creating a vacuum effect that allows oxygen and nutrients to flow back into your discs. Meanwhile, this vacuum effect produced at the level of the disc, retracts the disc bulge or disc herniation back to center.
This FDA-cleared procedure is gentle, effective and painless. Also, it is highly effective when done safely within established protocols. Spinal Decompression treatment also provides powerful chronic lower back pain relief and amplifies the healing process. Our patients have often found relief after failing other treatments.
Our office has a great track record for helping our patients get out of pain. Along with using a dual, revolutionary approach; we combine the most advanced non-surgical spinal decompression technology and gentle, upper cervical chiropractic techniques (NUCCA) to help you get better faster.
Want to learn more about a non-surgical approach to treating spinal stenosis and other conditions?
Give us a call for a consultation at (619) 313-5403.
Gentle Adjustments. Powerful Results.
Gentle NUCCA Chiropractors
Intouch Chiropractic | San Diego, CA
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