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Spinal stenosis FAQ — frequently asked questions

Q: What is spinal stenosis?
A: Spinal stenosis refers to narrowing in the spinal column, including the central spinal canal and the small openings that allow nerve roots to exit the spine.

Q: What causes spinal stenosis?
A: There are a number of factors that can cause spinal stenosis, but it is most commonly related to age-related degeneration of the spinal anatomy that causes conditions like spinal arthritis or herniated discs. These conditions can displace spinal anatomy, causing narrowing and potentially painful nerve compression. More rare causes and contributors can include birth defects, spinal tumors and traumatic injury.

Q: I think I have spinal stenosis. What is the best way for me to get a diagnosis?
A: Symptoms of spinal stenosis include localized pain in the neck or back that can be accompanied by radiating symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the extremities. If you are dealing with these symptoms, your primary care physician is usually the place to start. After a full medical history and exam, your doctor can refer you to a specialist to get an MRI or CT scan. If you have received confirmation of a diagnosis, we will be happy to review your MRI to see if we can help you find relief.

Q: Where does spinal stenosis occur?
A: Spinal stenosis can occur in any region of the spine, from the upper (cervical) to the middle (thoracic) or lower (lumbar). However, it is most commonly found in the lumbar spine.

Q: How is spinal stenosis treated?
A: Upon diagnosis, spinal stenosis is usually treated with a course of conservative treatments such as physical therapy, medication, therapeutic massage and lifestyle changes like posture correction or quitting smoking. The goal is to manage symptoms and promote long-term spine health while the progress of the condition is monitored.

Q: I have exhausted conservative treatment options. Who and where do I turn to next to understand my symptoms and get relief from my pain?
A: If you have been through weeks or months of treatment without finding necessary relief to return to a satisfying quality of life, surgery can become a serious consideration.

Q: Does USA Spine Care treat spinal stenosis?
A: Yes. Spinal stenosis is one of the most common conditions we treat at USA Spine Care. Through our minimally invasive approach, we relieve pain and other symptoms of stenosis while avoiding the large incisions and long recovery periods of traditional open back procedures.^

Q: I’ve been told I’m a candidate for a spinal fusion to treat my spinal stenosis. Can USA Spine Care help?
A: Yes, we can perform minimally invasive stabilization surgery for spinal stenosis, which is our outpatient approach to spinal fusion procedures.

Our surgeries are safer and effective alternatives to open spine surgery and offer our patients a shorter recovery time^. Contact us today to learn more. To find out if you are a potential candidate for a minimally invasive outpatient procedure at USA Spine Care, we’re happy to provide a free 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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