Spinal Stenosis Who, What, When and Where

What is Stenosis of the Spinal?

In the spinal cord and between the vertebrae there are spaces that allow the bones to move fluidly against each other. The tightening of the spinal column causes pressure on the nerves resulting in pain and discomfort for the patient when there is restriction in these spaces due to inflammation of soft tissue around the vertebrae, wearing away bones or disc erosion. This is called stenosis of the spinal cord. Spinal stenosis occurs most frequently in the neck of the cervical vertebrae and lower back of the lumbar vertebrae.

Underlying causes
Herniated disk: the discs could rupture between the cervical or lumbar vertebrae, causing inflammation that presses on the nerves.
.Osteoarthritis and the formation of bone spurs due to the condition are the most common cause of spinal stenosis.
.These alien growths are restricting the spinal space.
.Direct trauma to the spine may cause inflammation of the soft tissue or bone fracture, resulting in spinal stenosis.
.Spinal cord tumors, which are unfavorable growths, cause nerve inflammation and irritation.
.Older people who have largely lived sedentary lives are at higher risk for the condition.

Symptoms
.Pain in the neck or lower back (or sometimes both)
.Tingling and jabbing pain in the arms and legs
.Loss of sensation in the limbs
.Leg cramps smoothed by sitting
.Complications may result in muscle weakness, permanent loss of sensation in the limbs, and paralysis.

Treatment options
Treatment is intended to alleviate the pain associated with the condition and to treat the underlying cause to prevent recurrence.
Pain Medication
Steroids such as prednisone and corticosteroid injections and non-steroidal drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are great for mild to moderate pain treatment. Where the pain is more debilitating, under strict supervision, opioids such as oxycodone can be given to the patient.
Physical therapy
Regimens designed for endurance, stretching and flexibility are encouraged even when taking medication.
Surgery
Decompression surgery, by removing some calcified growths and ligaments, can relieve the pressure around the affected area. It is minimally invasive and has high recovery rates of success.

Direct surgery is also recommended for serious cases to relieve the inflammation and replace the worn out discs. In this case, the surgery may remove some parts of the vertebrae, replace a slipped or ruptured disk, or remove the offending bone to ease the nerve pressure.

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