Your spine consists of bones, tendons, muscles, and other tissues extending from the base of your skull to your tailbone. The spine protects your spinal cord, encloses the fluid surrounding the spinal cord, and provides structure and support to your body. Sometimes your spinal health can be affected by Roswell spinal stenosis. The condition is characterized by narrowing the space at the spine’s center, where spinal nerves branch to other areas of the body or between spinal bones. The spinal narrowing exerts unnecessary pressure or strain on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain and discomfort in your back and lower extremities.
If you have spinal stenosis, you may or may not show symptoms. If you have symptoms, they will depend on the affected area of your spine. For instance, if spinal narrowing affects your lower back, one or both legs will have pain, discomfort, and cramping, especially after standing or walking for an extended period. However, if the spinal narrowing is in your neck, you will feel pain and numbing sensation in your neck.
Causes of spinal stenosis
You can have congenital spinal stenosis, a condition in which you have a small spinal canal from birth. You are also at high risk of spinal narrowing when born with scoliosis. Scoliosis is a sideways spinal curvature you can have from childhood because of cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy.
Still, you can have spinal stenosis because of an occurrence that reduces the open space available within your spine. The spinal narrowing may result from bony projections in the spine, leading to a decrease in the area containing your spinal cord. Bone spurs due to arthritis can pinch or compress the spinal cord and its nerve roots; thus, your arms and legs will feel weak and numb.
Also, you may have spinal narrowing due to an injury or accident that dislodges or fractures your spinal bones. A surgical procedure to correct the injury can also cause swelling, further damaging your spinal cord or nerves, even for a few days or weeks.
Another potential cause of spinal stenosis is bulging disks. The vertebral column protects the spinal cord, running across its central cavity.
There is an intervertebral disk between every vertebra, and the disks have a substance that cushions the spinal column. Due to the normal wear and tear of aging, the vertebral disks can flatten, dry out, and crack, which causes them to bulge and pinch adjacent nerves.
Additionally, your spinal stenosis may be due to the thickening of spinal ligaments and the growth of tumors or cysts on the spinal canal or cord.
If you have mild symptoms of spinal stenosis, your doctor will most likely recommend self-care home remedies. For example, you may have to apply heat and cold therapy to the affected part of your spine. The use of ice packs and heat pads relieves pain, inflammation, and muscle stiffness. Also, you can perform exercises that can strengthen your spine and improve your balance, movement, and flexibility.
Non-surgical treatments you may find useful include pain and anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and an epidural steroid injection. If conservative and non-surgical treatments are ineffective, your doctor will recommend surgical treatment.
Contact APEX Spine and Neurosurgery today to schedule an appointment with a spinal stenosis specialist.