The small bones in your back are called vertebrae. They surround your spinal cord and its vital nerve supply. As you get older, you may be among the 95% of people who are 50 or older who experience spinal degeneration. The degenerative changes lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal and create a painful condition known as spinal stenosis.
Our team at NuVation Pain Group in Buena Park and Los Angeles, California, knows that back and neck pain can disrupt your daily activities and impact your quality of life. That’s why Phillip Lim, DO, MPH, customizes solutions to treat your spinal stenosis. Here he explains more about the condition, what causes it, and how it’s treated.
Understanding spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis occurs when the tunnel that houses your spinal cord compresses and puts pressure on your nerves. It most often affects your lower back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine) and causes a range of troubling symptoms.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Some of the telltale symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Numbing sensation in your arms or legs
- Weakness in your hand, arms or legs
- Neck pain
- Back pain
- Loss of balance
- Tingling in your foot
- Leg and buttock cramps
- Urinary incontinence or urgency
- Difficulty walking
- Burning pain in your buttocks
Symptoms usually start mild but progressively worsen.
What causes spinal stenosis?
In most cases, spinal stenosis is caused by osteoarthritis, though it can also be due to:
- Thickening of your spinal ligaments
- Bulging discs
- A spinal tumor
- Inflammatory spondyloarthritis
- Paget’s disease
The condition can also occur as a result of a traumatic injury.
What are the treatment options for spinal stenosis?
To diagnose the condition, Dr. Lim conducts a thorough exam, asks about your medical history, and will likely use some imaging tests like X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. With a diagnosis in hand, he writes a custom treatment plan that may include:
- Oral anti-inflammatory or pain medication
- Heat or cold therapy
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
- Steroid injections
- Lumbar traction
If your condition is severe, surgical intervention may be your best solution. The two procedures for spinal stenosis are spinal fusion and laminectomy. Both surgeries alleviate chronic pain and provide long-lasting results.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, make an appointment at one of our two locations in Buena Park or Los Angeles, California, or book online at your convenience.