Canal stenosis is a common cause of back pain. This condition, which involves the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, can pinch the spinal cord or one of the many nerve roots that branch away from it. This can cause sharp, shooting pains, or a dull, constant ache. It can also be accompanied by neurological symptoms. Other potential symptoms of canal stenosis include:
- Muscle spasms
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness in the extremities (typically either the arms or the legs, but usually not both)
It’s important to remember that other neck and back conditions can cause these symptoms as well. In fact, the symptoms of canal stenosis can be nearly identical to the symptoms of a herniated disc, spinal bone spur or spondylosis. So, how can you tell the difference?
Diagnosing canal stenosis
Without medical imaging, it can be difficult to tell what’s causing your symptoms. An X-ray or MRI may be needed to make a conclusive diagnosis. Because severe discomfort that lasts longer than several days might indicate canal stenosis (or another similar problem), it’s a good idea to turn to a medical professional for a comprehensive evaluation.
Canal stenosis treatment
If you find out that your symptoms are caused by canal stenosis, there are quite a few treatment options that you may be able to explore. For instance, medications can help relieve your pain, while physical therapy can help you stretch out the muscles in your neck and back. Chiropractic adjustments and acupuncture are complementary therapies that can help relieve canal stenosis symptoms as well.
Many people find that their symptoms respond well to these therapies, although it’s common for the effects to be short-lived. If you don’t achieve the long-term results you need with conservative canal stenosis treatment, you can turn to USA Spine Care to find out if you’re a candidate for minimally invasive surgery. Our procedures are performed on an outpatient basis and have a shorter recovery time than open spine operations.^ To learn more, contact us today.