Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This can cause a range of symptoms, including pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs, back, and buttocks.
If you suspect that you may be experiencing spinal stenosis, it is important to be aware of the warning signs so that you can seek treatment as soon as possible.
What are the main symptoms of spinal stenosis?
In many cases, spinal stenosis can be asymptomatic, meaning that it does not cause any noticeable symptoms, hence the reason why so many people are not even aware they have it.
People who do experience it, commonly encounter some of the following symptoms.
Pain and numbness: Spinal stenosis often causes back or neck pain and numbness. This is because the narrowed spinal canal puts pressure on the nerves that travel through these regions. The pain may be dull or sharp and may worsen over time. The numbness may also worsen over time.
Weakness: Spinal stenosis can also cause weakness in the legs, making it difficult to walk or stand for extended periods. You may find that you have difficulty lifting your legs or that you stumble or trip more frequently than before. When it occurs in the lower back, it tends to go hand-in-hand with sciatica.
What are some of the signs of severe stenosis in the spine?
Severe spinal stenosis tends to cause symptoms that greatly impact one’s ability to carry out daily activities, and can have an impact on one’s life in the following ways.
Loss of balance: Spinal stenosis can cause a loss of balance or coordination, making it difficult to walk or stand without support. This can increase the risk of falls and other injuries.
Tingling sensations: Spinal stenosis can cause a tingling sensation in the back, and buttocks, and legs. This sensation, which is commonly referred to as pins and needles, may be mild or severe and may be accompanied by a burning or prickling sensation.
Bowel or bladder problems:In severe cases of spinal stenosis, you may experience bowel or bladder problems. This can include difficulty urinating, incontinence, or constipation. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.
The lumbar spine (or lower spine) and the cervical spine tend to be affected most often, and as such lumbar stenosis (lumbar spinal stenosis) and cervical stenosis (cervical spinal stenosis) tend to be most affected by the narrowing of the spinal canal within the spinal column, or compression of the vertebrae.
What treatment options are available?
If you are experiencing any of these warning signs, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. A healthcare professional can help diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate pain management and treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication, or surgery. Early treatment can help prevent the progression of spinal stenosis and improve your quality of life.
Additionally, there are steps that you can take at home in order to significantly reduce or completely remove these symptoms. Specific exercises can be particularly helpful for spinal stenosis sufferers. A device called the Spinal Backrack has been designed to help reduce back pain, stiffness, and discomfort. It is an orthopaedic tool that is easy to use at home even without supervision.