Spinal stenosis is a condition caused from the vertebral column constricting and exerting pressure on the spinal cord or neural foramen (a bony tunnel through which a nerve exits the spinal cord).
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal Stenosis usually affects the cervical and lumbar spine. If the spinal canal is narrowed, the disorder is called cervical/lumbar central stenosis. If the foramen is narrowed, it is referred to as cervical/lumbar foraminal stenosis.
The possible causes for spinal stenosis include:
- Age: As a result of aging, wear and tear on the spine causes narrowing of the bone.
- Inflammation of the bone joint such as in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may affect the spine.
- Heredity: Some individuals are born with narrowing of the spinal canal (congenital). Structural malformations of the involved backbone can cause narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra glides forward over the one below causing narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Tumors of the spine.
- Injury or trauma may either dislodge the spinal canal or cause fractures that produce bone pieces which may penetrate the canal. At times, injury compresses the nerve roots that can lead to severe pain.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis may result in lower back pain and pain down the legs. The common symptoms include:
- Pain with prolonged sitting or standing
- Gait disturbances
These symptoms usually gradually progress and worsen over time.
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
Diagnosis of spinal stenosis is based on the following:
- Medical history: Your physician will gather a detailed history of your symptoms and any treatment received.
- Complete physical examination: A thorough examination of your body movements is performed by your doctor. Examination of the back is performed to assess for flexibility, range of motion, and the presence of certain signs that suggest nerve roots are being affected by degenerative changes in your back. This is done by testing the strength of your muscles and your reflexes to make sure that they are still working normally.
Spine X-rays are radiological tests carried out to rule out other causes such as a tumor or infection. Sometimes, a CT scan or MRI is ordered to get a more detailed examination of the bone or soft tissues. Rarely, Myelography is performed which involves injection of a contrast material into the spine followed by X-rays to detect any pathology of the spine. These tests help in the diagnosis and treatment plan.
How is spinal stenosis treated?
Back pain is treated either surgically or non-surgically depending upon the severity and duration of pain or associated symptoms. The non-surgical treatment options include:
- Your doctor may prescribe pain medications and muscle relaxants to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Rest and restriction of activities which exacerbate back pain.
- Cold/hot packs to decrease pain due to muscle strains and spasms.
- Start physical therapy as recommended by your doctor to stretch and strengthen the muscles.
- Acupuncture treatment for chronic low back pain.
Surgery is indicated only if the pain fails to resolve with these treatments over a significant period of time. Surgery is carried out to ease pain by relieving pressure on affected nerves. Decompression of the spinal cord accompanied by a discectomy, or an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion will be performed to remove the affected disc and fuse the associated vertebrae in order to stabilize the spine in that area. Complications of spinal surgery can include excessive bleeding, infection, ongoing pain, nerve damage, or need for additional surgery.
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Houston Back and Spine Specialists
Advanced Orthopedics and sports medicine has Board Certified/Eligible physicians who are thoroughly educated in the latest treatment techniques both surgical and conservative. The spine surgeons practice conservatively utilizing minimally invasive techniques whenever possible. Should surgery be required, options range from out-patient spinal surgery to major spinal reconstruction and management of scoliosis.
Contact us today to Schedule an Appointment or call us at 281-955-2650 to learn more about our Back and Spine Treatment options.
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What Our Patients Are Saying
Each procedure done by Dr. Patel has been an improvement. Very pleased.
Dr. Patel has been a great Doctor for me. When I was referred to after discussion we decided to do injections in my back. The first two did not work so did two more in a different section of my back. These injections worked great. I’m now able to sleep at night and the numbness in my foot is almost gone. The tingling in my foot & leg is gone and I am very happy about that. I am extremely happy that Dr. Patel is my Doctor. She has been a good listener when I tell her where I hurt and talks to me about what she feels should be done. The final decision is always mine.
On Nov. 22, 2017, I had a spinal injection in my lower back and it was an instant miracle in my life! For the first time in 4 intolerable months of pain, I was finally pain free, and I am now getting a second chance to live again! I am so grateful to Dr. Patel for my new life, and to God for guiding me to her! Thank you so very much Dr. Patel – you are God’s gift to me, thank you for being so awesome at what you do.
Dr. Patel is one of the best Doctors I have ever had. She is pretty good at her job. She makes it plain and simple. She is also very thoughtful. I was very glad to have met her. In other words she is pretty good.
The surgery done by Dr. S. Patel (Actually injections) & the mild medications she has prescribed has surely made my lower back -hip-leg less painful. I have complete confidence in her medical judgement & advice. She will administer second injection in June.
Dr. Patel is a very good Pain Management Doctor. She is one of my favorite doctors.
Dr. Patel has been great at my pain relief. She doesn’t force me to take any meds I don’t want, or injections. She will give me the injection I want when I need it. Great friendly Doctor.
Thank you for the opportunity to express how pleased I am with the excellent care of Stacy A. Bacon, M.D. I have confidence in her ability to care for me as she successfully partially replaced a broken hip 10 years ago, 2007. I also want to compliment Cheryl who set up the appointment. She represents Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine very well.
It’s been over 8 years since Dr. Bacon replaced by right ankle. I still can’t thank her enough for the years of pain free walking I have done since! And I’m still going strong! I had numerous breaks in my ankle due an auto accident, repaired/set by a different doctor, after multiple surgery’s, I was still limping, in great pain every day. Then I found Dr. Bacon, now, no more pain, NONE, and no more limping after this ankle replacement. I rave about her constantly and would recommend her to anyone who has a foot or ankle issue
I had been in so much pain with my back for years. It got so bad that I knew I had to do something. I went to Dr Mohr for help. I was so afraid to have spine surgery as I had heard so many horror stories. He and his staff were very informative. I was amazed at the new technology in spinal surgery. December 8, 2016 I had rods and pins put in my back. I am so happy I did now. I am healing really fast and the pain is going away as my body heals. Thank you Dr Mohr for you expertise and sensitive nature. You were understanding about my fear and helped assure me so I could receive the help I needed. You are an excellent Doctor.