Central Canal Stenosis – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Central canal stenosis (often referred to as spinal stenosis or central stenosis) is a spinal disorder the consists of the narrowing of the spinal canal of the spinal column. This disorder takes place because of the degeneration of intervertebral discs and joints of the vertebral column.

In this disorder, osteophytes or bone spurs grow in the central vertebral column. The facet joints of the spine also become inflamed and enlarged. These factors also cause a decrease in the space available for spinal nerves. The ligaments of the back also become thickened and stiffened which reduce the mobility of the back.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

There may be many symptoms of central canal stenosis. Some of them are described below:

  • Weakness, numbness, pain and tingling sensations in the buttocks, legs, calf muscles and feet.
  • Cramp formation in the calf muscles especially while walking, which demand you to take frequent short breaks of rest during walking.
  • Nerve pain resembling sciatica, i.e. the pain radiates into buttocks, one or both thighs and legs.
  • In some cases, the sphincter function of bowel and bladder is also disturbed, resulting in urinary and faecal incontinence.
  • Motor function of legs may also be disturbed, causing difficulty in walking.These symptoms appear due to nerve compression or even spinal cord compression.
  • In some patients, pain improves on leaning forward, lying down or sitting.
  • Shooting pain that resembles an electric shock in the case of stenosis that occurs in the cervical spine (cervical spinal stenosis, or cervical stenosis, specifically during the flexion of the neck.
  • The symptoms of central canal stenosis appear similar to those of disc herniation, but the difference is that disc herniation is an acute event. Its symptoms appear suddenly, while canal stenosis is a chronic event.
  • Cauda equina syndrome, which is a by-product of lumbar stenosis (or lumbar spinal stenosis), and affects the lumbar spine.

Adjacent Structures That Can Be Damaged

Spinal column stenosis is not merely confined to the vertebral column itself. It also leads to damaging of adjacent structures, including:

  • Intervertebral discs can collapse or bulge out, leading to disc herniation.
  • One or more vertebrae can slip out of their normal anatomical space.
  • Ligaments of the vertebral column may become harder and thicker.
  • Joints may become inflamed.
  • Bones may become enlarge leading to bony spurs.

Causes of Central Canal Stenosis

  • Bones undergo degenerative changes with aging. Osteoarthritis may occur due to age-related degenerated changes which are the leading cause of spinal stenosis.
  • The intervertebral discs which provide the cushioning effect to the spine may become dried out and shrink, leading to canal stenosis.
  • Other degenerative conditions like spondylosis or spondylolisthesis also lead to stenosis of the spinal canal.
  • Other causes may include vertebral injury, traumatic fractures, joint dislocation, rheumatoid arthritis and metabolic conditions like having an excessive level of fluoride in the body, fluorosis and Paget’s disease, etc.

Who is affected more?

Central canal stenosis affects both males and female in equal proportions and it commonly takes place after the age of 50. It also may happen in the younger people who suffer from narrowing of the spinal canal due to congenital factors.

Diagnosis and Treatments

If you suffer from any of the symptoms or signs mentioned above, seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. The doctor may provide a diagnosis of spinal canal stenosis after asking for the complete medical history of the patient and after performing a thorough physical examination.

If the physical examination is not conclusive, the patient may be required to undergo further investigations such as X-Rays, CT scans, MRI scans, myelograms, or an arterial Doppler study.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

It is a test in which magnetic field and radiofrequency waves are used to show the detailed view of muscles and other soft tissues of the vertebral column.

The advantage of MRI over X-Ray is that intervertebral discs and nerves are clearly visible in an MRI scan. It may be performed with a dye or without a dye. A dye is a contrast agent that is given to you by the IV route. MRI can also detect soft tissue anomalies like spinal cord tumours, abscesses or bony spurs.

Myelogram

It is a specific kind of X-Ray in which dye is spread into the spinal canal. The image made by the dye is recorded by the fluoroscope. Many anomalies can be viewed by the myelogram, such as bony growths, spinal abscesses, spinal cord tumours or nerves pinched by herniated discs.

CT Scan

It is a safe test in which a computer and X-Ray beam are used to make images of your vertebral column.

Doppler Ultrasound

This investigation uses sound waves which are reflected for the evaluation of blood. This test is used to detect any peripheral vascular disease.

The treatment will largely depend on the outcome of the diagnosis.

How is spinal stenosis managed?

The following steps must be taken for the effective management of central canal stenosis.

  • Self-care. Adopting correct posture keeps your vertebral column straight, which is the best thing you can do for your back.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapists can guide you about proper lifting techniques, walking, running and sitting methods and they can teach you proper exercises to make your back and abdominal muscles stronger.
  • You can use anti-inflammatory medication after consulting your doctor. Commonly used medicines for this condition are NSAIDs which are excellent painkillers.
  • Steroids are also prescribed commonly to reduce the inflammation of the nerves. The drug is injected directly into the affected area to relieve pain locally.
  • Spinal surgery. Although this is an option for people who suffer from spinal stenosis, spinal surgeries such as a laminectomy or spinal fusion should only be considered a last resort, due to the possible complications of such procedures, which should only be reserved for the most severe of cases.
  • Use an orthopaedic spinal decompression device. For non-surgical treatments, you can use the Backrack Spinal Secompression device. Backrack works on the whole spine and treat problems like spinal stenosis and herniated disc without any medication on invasive treatments.

100% Natural Treatment For Central Canal Stenosis

The Spinal Backrack is a unique and innovative device that targets the causes of your pain and thus provides long-term back pain relief through exercises that are easy to do at home and use only your own body weight. Through these exercises, it massages your back to relieve any tension or spinal compression that may be present. And the best part is that it is absolutely free of side-effects, as it is 100% natural. Thousands of people have already seen its benefits, so why not be one of them? Read more below.
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