The abnormal narrowing of the tunnel like space within the spine (the bony vertebral column at our back) is called spinal stenosis. It is also known as canal stenosis and spinal canal stenosis. The narrowing of the spaces lead to the pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Spinal stenosis treatment becomes necessary when the symptoms start appearing and disturbing to the person.
Cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis are the two common conditions people suffer from. In the former, the narrowing takes place in the part of the spine in the neck. The latter concerns with this narrowing occurs in the lower back. It is one of the most common form of spinal stenosis seen in people. There are many causes of spinal stenosis but it is usually caused by the wear and tear of the spine associated with daily activities and advancing age. Several other causes like herniated discs, bone spurs, thickened ligaments, tumors, spinal injuries, etc. can also lead to secondary spinal stenosis. Some people are born with a relatively narrow spinal canal. They are known to suffer from congenital spinal stenosis.
After conducting a physical examination and knowing the medical history of the patient, the doctor advises the appropriate treatment to patients suffering from spinal stenosis. The treatment given by the spine specialist depends on the signs and symptoms shown by the patients. The symptoms shown by the patients are pain in arms and legs, weakness in arms, legs, numbness, etc. If it happens to be cervical stenosis, there is neck pain along with numbness, difficulty in walking, bowel or bladder dysfunction. If a patient suffers from lumbar stenosis, the signs largely seen are weakness and numbness in foot or leg, pain in back, pain in legs due to prolonged standing, etc.
But the one symptom that typically defines a patient suffering from spinal stenosis is the inability of the patient to stand or walk beyond a few minutes. If they try to stand or walk more than their body’s permitted limit, they tend to develop pain/numbness/heaviness/tingling/burning sensation in back and legs and ultimately may feel as if they may fall down if they don’t sit immediately. Such patients usually shy away from attending social functions as they constantly need to search for a chair even when others attending that social function are standing comfortably.
In the initial stages, the spine specialist doctor would usually recommend conservative treatment in the form of medication, physical therapy, exercises, lifestyle modifications, strengthening the quality of bones etc. some of the patients may not get well with this line of treatment and then the spine doctor may recommend spine injection therapy. if nothing works to help the patient, then the patient may need a surgery.
Surgery is done for creating more space for the spinal cord or nerves when the patients do not get rid of symptoms and the pain persists even after taking medications and physical therapy, exercises etc. It is the severity and seriousness of the spinal stenosis that decides the nature of the treatment. Surgeries like endoscopic decompression, laminectomy, laminoplasty, minimally invasive surgery, etc. are done to relieve the pressure on the nerves in order to create more space within the spinal canal.
Most of these surgeries are quite safe and effective to improve the quality of life of patients.
The patients can avail spinal stenosis treatment from Dr. Arun Bhanot at AUM Clinics, Dwarka and Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurugram.