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Spinal Stenosis

Bedminister & Newton, NJ

 

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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis is characterized by the narrowing of the spinal canal and the subsequent pain caused by the canal exerting pressure on the nerve roots of the spine.

There are two types of Spinal Stenosis that can occur:

  • Cervical Stenosis takes place in the neck area. Cervical Stenosis is the more serious diagnosis, because of the possible consequences of the compression of the spinal cord. This compression can cause the space between the vertebras to shrink and has the potential to result in weakness of the body and over time cause paralysis.
  • Lumbar Stenosis takes place in the lower back area. Lumbar Stenosis is the more common diagnosis and occurs when the spinal nerves in the lower back are compressed and unable to send clear signals to the lower extremities. This can result in pain and numbness in the leg area, otherwise known as Sciatica.

It is important to note that Lumbar Stenosis does not always result in pain or any symptoms
Spinal Stenosis symptoms would include:

  • Inability to walk without pain
  • Sitting down often to combat pain
  • Tingling feeling in lower extremities
  • Deterioration in motor skills
  • Trouble lifting arms in the air
  • Pains coming “in and out”
  • Clumsiness

Causes:

  • Aging– As the body gets older problems may arise along the spinal cord to cause stenosis. Most commonly, discs will flatten over time, causing the space between vertebras to narrow.
  • Spondylolisthesis– One vertebra slipping past another could result in the space between being narrowed.
  • Hereditary– One could have had a compressed spinal cord from birth, but symptoms may not arise until later in life.
  • Injury– An unfortunate accident may result in spinal fracture or a bone spur. Any sort of fracture to the spine has potential to cause damage to a disc and the space between.

Foraminal Stenosis is another form of spinal stenosis and includes many of the same symptoms, however the mechanisms of this condition are a bit different. The foramen are the openings along the spine where nerve roots exit. When this area becomes narrowed, it causes pressure on these nerve roots causing the symptoms seen above. This form of stenosis is more common in the lumbar area.

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