Your spine connects your brain and peripheral nervous system and is crucial to your ability to bend, twist, stand, and sit. Your spinal cord houses bones, nerves, joints, tissues, and discs and can be the source of a variety of mild, chronic, or severe pain.
At NuVation Pain Group in Buena Park and Los Angeles, California, Dr. Philip Lim, DO, MPH, is passionate about helping you get your pain under control so you can live an active and happy life. Across the world, back pain is the number one cause of disability. It’s estimated that 80% of all people will suffer at some point in their lives. One condition that Dr. Lim specializes in is spinal stenosis. Let’s take a closer look at this troubling condition.
Spinal stenosis basics and causes
Your spinal cord is a long cylindrical structure that’s encased in a tunnel-like structure in your back. When that tunnel narrows or degenerates, spinal stenosis develops. Anyone can develop this painful back condition, but your risks increase as you get older. It’s a leading cause of spinal surgery in people over 60. You’re prone to spinal stenosis if you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, develop a tumor, or have a spinal fracture from an injury.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
Some of the telltale symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Pain in your back
- Neck pain
- Pain that travels down your leg
- Trouble walking or standing
- Problems with balance and coordination
- Numbness in your extremities
- Burning sensation in your buttocks
- Urinary urgency or incontinence
In most cases, these symptoms are mild at first, but get worse over weeks and months.
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
Before Dr. Lim recommends a surgical solution, he works with you to make an official diagnosis using MRI and X-ray technology. He meets with you to talk about your health and family history and customize some noninvasive treatments that may help restore your quality of life, such as:
- Modifying your activity
- Adding aerobic exercise to your daily routine
- Getting physical therapy
- Receiving a spinal manipulation
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
- Embracing hot and cold therapy
- Utilizing acupuncture
If Dr. Lim determines that surgery is the best way forward, you’ll begin discussions about whether a spinal fusion or laminectomy is best for you.