Spinal Stenosis Meaning

Spinal stenosis is the shrinking of the areas within your spine. The shrinkage that generally occurs in the neck or lower back pressurizes the spinal cord or nerves that emanate from the compressed areas. An affected person will complain of severe pain in the calves, legs, and lower back while walking and standing. The pain generally eases by either sitting or leaning over, say, a chair or a countertop. The condition can cause pain, but spinal stenosis risk of paralysis has not been confirmed by scientific research. When considering if spinal stenosis can be cured, a consultation with an online neurologist can help you find treatments to relieve the symptoms.

The spinal stenosis causes are not known, and not everyone with this condition will develop symptoms. Some people may experience symptoms like numbness, pain, tingling, and muscle weakness. There are three main Spinal stenosis types: lateral recess stenosis in the thoracic region, central spinal stenosis in the cervical region, and foraminal stenosis in the lumbar region.


Spinal Stenosis Causes

The spine or the backbone extends from the neck to the lower back. The bones of the backbone form a canal that protects the spinal cord. The narrowing of the spaces within the spine may occur due to any of the following causes:

  • Bone Overgrowth: Damage from osteoarthritis can cause wear and tear in the spinal bones. It leads to the formation of bone spurs that invades the spinal canal. Some bone diseases can also cause overgrowth in the spine bone.
  • Thickening of Ligaments: The cords that hold the spinal bones together can become stiff, hardened, and thickened as we age. The thickened ligaments can protrude into the spine leading to reduced spaces.
  • Spinal Injuries: Accidents or trauma can cause fractures in one or more spinal vertebrae. The dislocated bone may damage the spinal canal. Back surgery may cause swelling in the surrounding tissue thus, putting pressure on the spinal nerves.
  • Herniated Discs: There is cushioning acting as shock absorbers present between the vertebrae that tends to dry as we grow old. Any crack in the disk may cause this soft material to break out and pressurise the spinal nerves.
  • Tumours: Abnormal cell growth may occur inside the membranous covering of the spine, space between spinal cord and vertebrae, or inside the spinal cord. Such growth can press into the spinal nerves.



Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Many people may not experience the stenosis symptoms even when their MRI and CT scans show the onset of spinal stenosis. The symptoms include:

  • Tingling sensation or numbness in hands, feet, legs, or arms.
  • Problems with gait, balance, and walking
  • Neck pain
  • Weakness in hands, foot, legs, or arms
  • Pain or cramps in one or both legs that worsen on standing for long periods or walking extensively and which eases on standing or leaning forward.


Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis

Your neuro physician in Patna or the top neurologist in Patna will discuss your medical and family history to diagnose spinal stenosis. Additionally, he will also conduct a physical examination. He will prescribe several imaging tests to ascertain the cause of spinal stenosis. The imaging tests will include:

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI uses a combination of powerful magnetic and radio waves to produce multiple cross-sectional scans of the spine. The scan can detect tumours and damage to disks and ligaments. It can also highlight the area where spinal cord nerves are being pressurised.
  • X- Rays: Creating an X-ray image of the back can show the changes in the bone structure, such as bone spurs that may be protruding into the spinal canal, thus narrowing it down.
  • CT Scan: A CT scan involves staking multiple X-ray images taken from several angles to produce cross-sectional body images. If an advanced scan is done, it involves using a contrast dye to highlight the herniated disc, tumours, and bone spurs.


Spinal Stenosis Treatment

The suitability of the selected treatment depends on the location of the spinal stenosis and the severity of the condition. Talk today with a top neurosurgeon in Patna who will advise about the best option. If the symptoms are mild, the neurologist doctor in Jaipur may recommend self-care tips. If that does not help, the best neurologist in Faridabad will prescribe medications or psychotherapy. If any other treatment does not relieve the painful symptoms, one of the top 5 neurologists in Patna may advise spinal stenosis types of surgery.

  • Medications: The doctor may prescribe medications. This includes pain killers, antidepressants, anti-seizure medicines, and opioids.
  • Physical therapy: People with spinal stenosis usually become less active to tolerate pain. But idling can lead to the weakening of muscles which can lead to more pain on movement. A therapist can help build endurance and strength levels, improve balance, and help maintain the stability and flexibility of the spine.
  • Steroid Injections: Steroidal injections do not directly treat stenosis but reduce inflammation, thus relieving pain.
  • Surgery: It is considered only if other treatments do not seem to work. The surgery aims to reduce pressure on the spinal nerves by making a space within the spine.


Spinal Stenosis Risk Factors

Some factors that can heighten the risk of developing spinal stenosis are:

  • Being over the age of 50
  • Degenerative changes, if young
  • Trauma
  • Congenital spinal deformity such as scoliosis
  •  A genetic disease affecting muscle and bone development in the body



Is Spinal stenosis type of arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It leads to a loss of cushion between bones that causes them to brush against one another, causing pain, swelling and stiffness. When osteoarthritis worsens, the condition is called spinal stenosis.

Is Spinal stenosis type of neuropathy?

Spinal stenosis is an example of compressive neuropathy as it causes the spinal nerves to compress due to factors like herniated disks, bone spurs, etc.

What activities should be avoided with spinal stenosis?

Any extreme and excessive activity like back extension long walks, running, heavy sports, and certain poses that stretch the back should be avoided. 

Also Read

6 Most Common Neurological Disorders

How Alcohol Affects Your Brain?

Top 12 Interesting Facts About The Nervous System