Spinal stenosis can occur for a variety of different reasons. Sometimes the space in the spinal canal simply narrows after decades of stress and natural body degeneration, while other times structures shift or grow and affect the spinal nerves. A herniated disc, the onset of bone spurs or a defect in the facet joints can all lead to a narrowing of the space through which the spinal cord and spinal nerves travel.
The condition can develop in any area of your spine, but it is most common in the cervical (neck) portion of your spine. However, just because the condition develops in your back doesn’t mean that symptoms will be contained to the spine. Since stenosis involves the compression of nerves responsible for actions all over the body, there can be a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Pain in the neck, back or extremities
- Leg weakness
- Tingling or a pins and needles-like sensation
- Inhibited gait
- Loss of bladder control
- Dizziness or headaches
- Loss of balance
Diagnosing Stenosis and Finding A Solution
If you are dealing with any of the above symptoms, and you want answers, head into a spine specialist’s office. Spinal stenosis can’t be diagnosed by looking at your back or performing an online search; in order to have a true diagnosis, you need to undergo an imaging test. X-rays can help to determine if bone spurs or a herniated disc are disrupting spinal nerve space, while other tests like a CT scan or MRI can highlight which nerves are being affected.
Dr. Sinicropi has all of these tools in his diagnostic arsenal, so reach out to his clinic to get to the bottom of your spine pain. Once you have a diagnosis, Dr. Sinicropi will sit down with you, explain your situation and walk you through all your treatment options. Unless your spinal cord is in serious jeopardy, he’ll likely begin with conservative treatment methods. Specific treatment options will be determined depending on whether a bone spur, shifted disc or other issue is causing your spinal stenosis, but common conservative options include exercise, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections.
Minnesota Spinal Stenosis Surgeon
If these options fail to provide relief, surgery is usually the next step in alleviating pain. The goal of spinal stenosis surgery is to free the spinal canal from the compression and to open space in the canal to allow nerves to move freely. Oftentimes this can be performed with a minimally invasive, motion preservation operation that is not only less taxing on the patient, but yields better results and reduces the risk of complications compared to an open technique. To learn more about the specifics of spinal stenosis surgery, give Dr. Sinicropi’s office a call at 800-234-1826.