Spinal stenosis pain can originate in the neck or lower back. The symptoms can be extremely disruptive to your normal activities — taking you away from your family, your work and your favorite hobbies. The term stenosis means narrowing, which can be caused in the spinal column by a number of different conditions such as spinal arthritis, thickening of ligaments or a herniated disc. In rare cases, a person can be born with a narrow spinal canal due to heredity, but spinal stenosis is usually caused by age-related changes to the spine.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis does not always cause painful symptoms. If the narrowing occurs without interfering with the spinal cord or a nerve root, the condition can go undiagnosed for years. If you have been diagnosed with stenosis, then it is most likely because one or more of the following painful symptoms sent you to a doctor for treatment:
Pain can be a dull ache or a sharp sensation in one location of the neck or back. It can also be felt as tingling or burning that radiates from one spot along the spinal column to other areas of the body, such as the shoulders, hips, buttocks, arms or legs.
You may have difficulty walking but will find relief when leaning forward and bracing on an object, such as a walker or shopping cart.
Spinal stenosis pain can potentially be chronic, severely limiting work- and leisure-related activities.
Pain can be aggravated by motion, such as bending, twisting, standing, walking, or swinging a golf club, or by repetitive motions like heavy lifting.
In cases of mild spinal stenosis, pain may persist, but it also may come and go over the course of a few days or a week. It may not stop you from most activities, but it can slow you down.
In addition to pain, spinal stenosis can cause stiffness in the cervical (upper) or in the lumbar (lower) regions of the spine. Spinal stenosis can also cause numbness and tingling in the extremities. Other spinal stenosis symptoms include cramping in the legs or arms and possibly headaches and dizziness.
Stenosis, and the pain that comes with it, can affect any part of the spine, but it more commonly affects the lumbar and cervical regions, with thoracic stenosis being rarer. For example, if your pain or other symptoms are in the neck area and you also have difficulty walking, you may have cervical spinal stenosis.
You have treatment options
If you are dealing with spinal stenosis pain and have been unable to find relief from conservative treatments, contact USA Spine Care to learn more about the minimally invasive spine surgery we perform for this condition. Our outpatient procedures are a safer and effective alternative^ to traditional open spine surgery^ for the decompression of pinched nerves to help you find lasting relief from neck or back pain.
Contact us and we can provide you with a no-cost review* of your MRI to determine if you may be a candidate for one of our 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.
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.