If you’ve been struggling with back pain, a condition known as spinal stenosis may be the cause. While you should see a physician or specialist for diagnostics, learning about the condition may help you determine if spinal stenosis is the cause of your back pain. Here is a brief guide to what you should know about it.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
The term spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of your spinal canal in one or more vertebrae, usually in the lower back (lumbar) or neck (cervical). This puts pressure on your spinal cord, leading to a host of issues that affect your way of life. Often, spinal stenosis occurs as a result of osteoarthritis damage, especially in older populations. Other conditions can limit the space in the spinal canal, though, including bone spurs, herniated disks, and spinal trauma or injuries.
What Are the Symptoms?
Some people experience no symptoms when they have spinal stenosis, and the location of the stenosis can affect the symptoms. When your lower back is affected, you can experience back pain, along with loss of sensation and weakness in your legs or feet. Being on your feet for long periods may also cause aches and cramps in your legs. With cervical stenosis, you can experience pain in your neck, tingling, loss of feeling, and weakness in your limbs. You may experience some, none, or all of these symptoms, and they tend to get more severe over time as the stenosis progresses.
What Are the Treatment Options?
Stenosis can often be treated through conservative methods and pain management techniques. Symptoms and discomfort greatly improve with physical therapy that targets the back and core muscles, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications will additionally alleviate swelling and discomfort. Your physician may also recommend steroidal injections into the affected area for pain management. If your stenosis is severe, doesn’t respond to conservative methods, and is causing you a great deal of discomfort, surgical options exist to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, including removal of part of the vertebrae and muscle.
For almost 40 years, we at Physical Therapy of Andalusia in Alabama have been dedicated to bettering our patients’ lives through skilled, effective physical therapy services. From pain management for spinal stenosis to treating back pain caused by an injury, our experienced team treats a wide range of conditions to improve your mobility, comfort, and life. We work with most major insurances, and we take pride in constantly advancing our knowledge and practice. Learn about our services online, and call (334) 222-5785 to schedule your appointment today.