When one or more foramina within the spine begins to narrow and reduce spaces for nerves, this can lead to partial or total nerve compression. This can occur within the spinal canal or in intervertebral foramina, where the spinal nerve exits the canal. Because of narrowing, the nerves get compressed and cause pain. Most often, it occurs in the region of the neck or lower back.
For patients dealing with spinal stenosis in Houston, it is crucial to consult a specialist who can cure the problem and provide relief. Additionally, delays in treatment or neglecting the problem can result in severe consequences.
Signs and symptoms:
Stenosis can have different symptoms from person to person. The cause of stenosis determines the symptoms. Some signs and symptoms are:
- Pain: The pain might be electric, which spreads into arms or legs. Sometimes it remains confined to the neck and lower back only. It causes a tingling sensation.
- Numbness: As the pain increases, it can cause a total loss of sensation or numbness in the legs, arms, or other body parts.
- Weakness: Stenosis can cause disorientated coordination in body parts and even strength reduction. Extreme compression of nerves leads to bowel dysfunction.
- Standing or Walking Problems: Stenosis, which occurs in the lower back region like the lumbar region, may cause gait problems. The condition leads to weakness in the thigh and leg muscles.
- Bladder incontinence: Lumbar stenosis can disrupt communication between the brain and nerves that help control bladder function. The condition is known as neurogenic bladder.
- Bowel incontinence: Some spinal stenosis leads to paraplegia. The condition is named cauda equina when it occurs in the lumbar region.
- Spinal osteoarthritis: It happens when the cartilage of facet joints breaks, bones begin to rub against each other, and leads to abnormal bone growth known as bone spurs. This inflammation results in the narrowing of the foramina.
- Disc degeneration disease: Hydration loss of discs causes intervertebral foraminal narrowing. A bulge also pushes in the spinal canal. It puts more pressure on facet joints, and degeneration increases.
- Ligament buckling: Ligaments in the canal get thickened and reach nearby spinal nerves.
Medically till now, stenosis doesn’t have a cure, but doctors suggest personalized treatment to control your pain. The treatment might include:
Medications: Temporarily, medicines can reduce your pain. Doctors prescribe pain relievers and antidepressants.
Physical Therapy: Physical activity is recommended to reduce your pain. It improves strength.
Epidural: Steroid injection in epidural space might relieve the pain by decreasing inflammation.
Decompression: In this, a needle is taken to remove the thickened ligament around the spinal cord.
In extreme cases, corrective surgery is recommended by doctors. If the patients face pain or numbness in limbs, which affects their body movement, or if they are facing any of the symptoms mentioned above, do not hesitate to call a doctor.