What to do if you have spinal stenosis
First of all, let’s consider what spinal stenosis is. There are two major types of spinal stenosis: cervical and lumbar stenosis.
- Cervical stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal near your neck, and it affects the cervical region of the spine.
- Lumbar stenosis affects your spine in the lower back, also known as the lumbar spine. Again, it is a narrowing of part of your spine.
In essence, spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces between the vertebrae in the spine. This narrowing can put pressure on the nerve roots that go through the spine. Not everyone with spinal stenosis experiences symptoms, but those who do may encounter the following:
- Pain in the back or neck.
- A tingling sensation, also referred to as ‘pins and needles’.
- Weakened muscles and.
In severe cases, it can cause difficulty in one’s ability to control their bowel or bladder functions.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
A narrow spinal canal may sometimes be the result of birth defects, which is not a common occurrence, but it is still a possibility. In most cases, stenosis occurs due to:
- A bone overgrowth, more commonly known as a bone spur or osteophyte. This happens when a bony tissue forms due to general wear and tear and damage caused by osteoarthritis. These spurs can grow in any direction on the spine, but when they grow into the spinal canal, they can obstruct it. Another cause of bone overgrowth is Paget’s disease, which adults can be affected by.
- Herniated discs. Spinal discs act as shock absorbers for the spine. These soft cushion-like structures between your vertebrae can dry out with age. Cracks in the outer parts of the disc can allow the discs’ soft inner material of to escape and bulge outward (sometimes into the spinal canal). If it does it will press on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Thickened ligaments. Ligaments are tough cords that are designed to hold the vertebrae together. They may grow thick and stiff with the passage of time. Thickened ligaments may bulge into the spinal canal.
- Tumours which may form in the interior of the spinal cord. However, these are rare.
- Injuries to the spine. Vertebrae can become dislodged or fractured, perhaps due to an accident. Pieces of bone from a spinal fracture can damage the contents inside the spinal canal.
People over the age of fifty are most likely to suffer from spinal stenosis.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
People with spinal stenosis may experience different symptoms depending on where the spinal stenosis is (in your lower back or neck). For example, symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis include:
- A tingling sensation or numbness in your foot or leg, or in your arm and/or hand.
- Weakness of your limbs, foot or hand.
- problems with your balance and walking.
- Lower back pain.
- Incontinence, or perhaps an urgent need to urinate. However, these symptoms only occur when the spinal stenosis is severe.
- Cramps or pain in one or perhaps both legs when you walk or stand for some time. This may ease if you sit or bend forward.
When it comes to cervical stenosis, the most common symptom is that of neck pain. Sometimes it may be accompanied by other symptoms such as tingling, numbness or weakness in the neck, shoulders, or arms.
What can be done for spinal stenosis?
Because some symptoms of spinal stenosis may overlap with other spinal conditions, it is recommended to first obtain a diagnosis to confirm the cause of your pain. This process usually starts with your doctor taking a history and performing a physical examination. Oftentimes, spinal stenosis is difficult to diagnose with the naked eye, and as such additional tests, such as CT scans may be required.
Once you obtain a diagnosis, there are two main paths to consider: surgical and non-surgical. As with any other spinal or general health problems, it is best to try non-invasive methods first, as surgical interventions can cause more problems than were present before the said procedure.
That being said, some non-surgical options include:
- Spinal mobilisation with the help of physical therapy.
- Engaging in light exercises using a special orthopaedic spinal decompression device, called the Backrack, to decompress and stretch out your spine.
Backrack Helps Treat Spinal Stenosis Naturally!
Why spinal decompression?
It is a safe, non-invasive treatment modality that stretches out your spine and restores the natural space between your vertebrae.
Because stenosis of the spine is characterised by a narrowing of the spine, or lessening of the space within the spinal canal, the Backrack helps reverse that process, lengthening your spine and helping to remove obstructions caused by compression.
As a result, any nerve roots, spinal discs, or other structures that were affected by this loss of space are no longer placed under increased pressure, and consequently, any pain or tingling sensations shall disappear as well.
Author: Spinal Backrack