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.
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.