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Spinal stenosis information that every patient needs to know

If you’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, the amount of information you’re trying to process is probably overwhelming. While your physician or spine specialist should always be your main source of information, these are some basic facts that can hopefully help you make a little more sense of your diagnosis.

Spinal stenosis defined

Spinal stenosis, which is the narrowing of the spinal canal, doesn’t just develop overnight. It is a degenerative condition that can either be inherited or acquired, but in either case, the narrowing usually happens slowly over time.

With inherited spinal stenosis, people are already born with a small spinal canal and as they get older, the narrowing increases further and causes painful symptoms. With acquired spinal stenosis, the canal starts off at a normal size and gradually becomes smaller as a result of natural wear from aging.

In both situations, the condition can go unnoticed for a long time since spinal stenosis usually causes no symptoms. It is only when the narrowing begins to compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that pain may occur. These symptoms, including back pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in the arms or legs, can be extremely disruptive. If you are experiencing spinal stenosis symptoms, the following article can help get you back to the activities you love.

Alternative spinal stenosis treatments to open back surgery

While patients with spinal stenosis may need several nonsurgical therapies to keep their symptoms at a manageable level, surgery isn’t usually necessary. Your physician will generally first prescribe a course of conservative treatments that fit your specific condition. Common options include traction or inversion tables, chiropractic care, physical therapy, anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), epidural steroid injections, stretches and alternative therapies, like acupuncture. The majority of patients find lasting and meaningful relief from their stenosis symptoms with these treatments and are able to return to an acceptable level of comfort.

If you’re considering surgery because weeks and months of conservative treatment have not brought you pain relief, surgical intervention may be an option. Spinal stenosis can be treated with minimally invasive spine surgery, like the muscle-sparing procedures offered at USA Spine Care. By removing the tissue narrowing the canal through a procedure called a laminotomy, our dedicated team is able to relieve the symptoms caused by spinal stenosis. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and are associated with shorter recovery times.^ As you learn more about your diagnosis, contact USA Spine Care if you have any questions about surgery for spinal stenosis.

For additional information about our minimally invasive procedures and to see if you are a candidate, reach out to USA Spine Care today and ask for your no-cost MRI review.*

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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