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Spinal stenosis — causes of spinal stenosis and how you can help prevent it

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal begins to narrow and compresses the nerves in the spinal cord. While this is a common condition for people over the age of 50 due to the natural aging process of the components of the spine, spinal stenosis can also be caused by a degenerative spine condition.

In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your spinal stenosis, it is necessary for you to consult your physician and schedule and MRI review. Once the cause of your spinal stenosis is determined, you can collaborate with your physician to create a treatment plan that fits your needs.

If you have been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition or you have cause to believe that you have a degenerative spine condition, please review the following information about how degenerative spine conditions contribute to spinal stenosis.

Degenerative spine conditions

Degenerative spine conditions occur with the gradual loss of normal spine function over time. This could be caused by age, infection, injury, or other occurrences that cause the integrity of the spine to be compromised.

There are several spine conditions that cause gradual degeneration of the spine, resulting in the narrowing of the spinal canal. Some of the most common degenerative spine conditions are as follows:

  • Degenerative disc disease is the gradual deterioration of a disc or discs due to general aging or injury. When an intervertebral disc wears down, disc material can enter the small spaces in the spinal canal where nerve roots are located. When nerve roots are impacted by the disc material, local and radiating pain can occur.
  • Bulging discs are intervertebral discs that have become misshapen. These discs can protrude into the spinal canal, causing it to narrow. The nerve roots can become compressed and pain may occur.
  • Bone spurs, often the result of osteoarthritis in the spinal canal, are small growths on the vertebrae or joints of the spine. They may develop as joints in the spinal column deteriorate. Bone spurs can grow into the spinal canal, narrowing the open space in the spinal canal and pressing on the nerve roots.
  • Herniated discs are intervertebral discs that have broken open or ruptured due to wear and tear or injury. Disc material and fluid from herniated discs can cause the spinal canal to narrow and impact local nerve roots.

The most common location of degenerative spine conditions and spinal stenosis is in the lumbar (lower back) portion of the spine. This is because the lumbar spine is responsible for supporting most of the body’s weight. As the natural aging process occurs, more weight is compressed on the vertebrae and discs in the lumbar, causing a degenerative spine condition to develop.

Treatment options for degenerative spinal stenosis

Patients who have spinal stenosis caused by a degenerative spine condition may experience pain relief with our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. At USA Spine Care, we offer an effective alternative to traditional open back fusion. Each of our procedures are performed in our outpatient surgery center, which eliminates additional hospital stay and allows you to return home the same day your surgery is performed.

During our minimally invasive stabilization surgery, the surgeon will cut a small, 1-inch incision at the location of your spine condition. Unlike traditional open back fusion, the surrounding muscles and soft tissue will not be cut or disturbed in order to access the spine. Our advanced, minimally invasive techniques allow our surgeons to move aside the surrounding muscle without cutting through them to reach the spine. Our surgeons will then decompress the affected nerve by removing either the bone spur or expanded disc, depending on the spine condition that is causing the spinal stenosis. Once the diseased portion of the spine is removed, an implant will be inserted to immediately stabilize the spine and help prevent future narrowing of the spinal canal.

For more information about our procedures, contact USA Spine Care. Our team will review* your MRI report at no cost to help determine your candidacy for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.

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.

Contact us today to learn more. Call toll free 1-866-249-1627.

Spinal Stenosis "Quick Answers"

Depending on the region and severity Spinal stenosis feels like tingling, burning and/or weakness in the hands, arms, neck, lower back or legs. It may also feel like a radiating pain or shooting shock-like pain. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Overview Defining Spinal Stenosis Researching Spinal Stenosis Learning About Back Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Pathophysiology
The types of spinal stenosis are region based and consist of cervical (neck), thoracic (mid back) and lumbar or lower back. In addition, foraminal stenosis is the narrowing of the foramen. Read more in the links below: Spinal Stenosis of the Neck Cervical Stenosis - Basic Facts Neck Stenosis Causes Neck Stenosis Treatment Central Canal Stenosis Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis in the Back
Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This condition, most often located in the Lumbar spine, may be caused by degeneration of the spine, wear and tear, sports injury, & collapsing discs. Read more in the links below. What Causes Spinal Stenosis? Obesity May Lead to a Stenosis Diagnosis Age and its Role in the Development of Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis Causes Identifying Common Causes From Birth Defects to Getting Older Degenerative Conditions Car Accident Injuries
The symptoms of spinal stenosis include tingling or numbness in the extremities, pain and weakness in the neck, back and/or legs. In severe cases bladder, bowel dysfunction/continence. Learn more in the links below: What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis What Should I Do If I Think I Have Spinal Stenosis? Spinal Stenosis and Hand Pain Recognizing Spinal Stenosis Have You Been Diagnosed? About Your Diagnosis Diagnostic Process Helping Your Physician How a Diagnosis Is Made Arriving at a Diagnosis
Physician specialties that treat spinal stenosis include: Pain management & rehabilitation physicians, spine surgeons, orthopedic specialists & neurosurgeons. Read more about these specialties in the links below: Doctors Who Treat Spinal Stenosis Spinal Decompression Doctors
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 Procedure What to Expect Recovery Times

  • Problems from anesthesia.
  • A deep infection in the surgical wound.
  • A skin infection.
  • Blood clots.
  • 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.

Read more in the links below: Overview of Risk Factors Most Common Risk Factors Obesity & Spinal Stenosis Spinal Stenosis & Arthritis Treating Elderly Patients

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