In addition to disease or injury, spinal stenosis can have another cause — one that isn’t discussed as frequently: birth defects. Spinal stenosis refers to the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal or one of the foramen in the vertebrae, eventually leading to nerve compression and neck or back pain. Known as acquired spinal stenosis, this deterioration of the spine is extremely common in patients as they grow older and can be expedited by the presence of a traumatic injury or a condition like degenerative disc disease. Primary spinal stenosis, on the other hand, refers to stenosis that a person is born with and can’t prevent. This inherited syndrome can leave an individual with a spinal canal that is narrower than others, which is not necessarily symptomatic, but can increase the likelihood of back problems that can appear later in life — or even as early as a person’s teens or twenties.
Symptoms of primary spinal stenosis
By itself, having a spinal canal that is narrower than an average spine’s isn’t necessarily problematic. In fact, many people who experience primary spinal stenosis don’t even know they have it until adulthood when they begin to develop back problems. Neck or back pain only occurs when the spinal canal (or vertebral foramen) becomes so constricted that the nerve it is supposed to protect actually becomes compressed. This nerve compression can lead to a number of pain-related symptoms, including:
Neck or back pain, ranging from sharp pain to a dull, throbbing discomfort
Unexpected muscle weakness
Pain that seems to radiate or travel along the pinched nerve
Acute loss of motor function or reflexes
In emergency cases, incontinence or loss of bladder control
The good news is that primary spinal stenosis is just one cause of back pain and is nowhere near as common as acquired spinal stenosis. If you are experiencing neck or back pain, the only way to clearly identify the source of your discomfort is by visiting your physician for a full examination. To learn more about spinal stenosis and if you are a candidate for the state-of-the-art, minimally invasive, outpatient procedures performed by the surgeons at USA Spine Care, contact us today.
Learn more today
If you're living with spinal stenosis in the upper spine and searching for relief, reach out to USA Spine Care for help. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping people develop the right care plan to reach treatment goals and achieve lasting relief.
Patients can expect recovery to last 4-6 weeks in most cases (depending on the complexity of your condition). People who choose minimally invasive spine surgery recover faster and get back to work sooner than those who choose open back surgery. Read more in the links below: Recovery After a ProcedureWhat to ExpectRecovery Times
Problems from anesthesia.
A deep infection in the surgical wound.
A skin infection.
Nerve injury, including weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
Tears in the fibrous tissue that covers the spinal cord and the nerve near the spinal cord. These tears may require more surgery.
Trouble passing urine, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Long-term (chronic) pain, which happens after surgery in some cases.
The chance that the surgery won't relieve your symptoms. And even if you get better with surgery, there is a chance that you may get new symptoms in the future.
Death from problems caused by surgery, but this is rare.
^Results are typical, but not guaranteed, each patients experience with spine surgery will differ.
For more information, visit usaspinecare.com/results. The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a replacement for a medical diagnosis.
*Our MRI review is an informational review of the MRI report that you provide to us and is not a form of diagnosis. A diagnosis and a final determination of whether you may benefit from treatment at USA Spine Care can only be made after you have been physically examined by our medical professionals at USA Spine Care. The MRI review has no value and will not be billed.