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Types of spinal stenosis

The types of spinal stenosis are often categorized by the region of the spine in which the condition has developed. In general, spinal stenosis describes a narrowing of the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and nerve roots. When the limited space within this area is constricted through the degeneration of a portion of the spinal anatomy, nerve compression can result if it puts extra pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root.

Spinal stenosis often stems from age-related spinal degeneration, which can crowd the space within the spinal canal with herniated disc material, bone spurs or swollen ligaments. In rarer cases, some people are born with narrow spinal canals that are more prone to symptomatic spinal stenosis at a relatively young age.

Spinal stenosis types by location

Spinal stenosis can be categorized many different ways. For example, by location:

  • Cervical spinal stenosis — in the cervical (upper) region
  • Thoracic spinal stenosis —in the thoracic (middle) region
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis — in the lumbar (lower) region

Spinal stenosis can also be categorized by the part of the spinal column that is experiencing narrowing, these types include:

  • Central canal stenosis — in the main spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord
  • Lateral recess stenosis — in the back of the spinal canal where the nerve roots first branch off
  • Foraminal stenosis — in the small openings that allow nerve roots to exit the spinal column

All forms of spinal stenosis can lead to chronic pain and debilitating symptoms that require professional treatment.

Treatment options for spinal stenosis

Many spinal stenosis patients respond well to conservative treatments such as rest, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, hot and cold therapy, low-impact exercise and massage. However, in some cases, surgery might be required to relieve persistent or debilitating pain, but that alternative does not necessarily involve a highly invasive operation.

The surgeons at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive surgeries to address the underlying causes of painful nerve compression. Our outpatient procedures help patients find relief and are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.^ To learn more about minimally invasive treatment options for the various types of spinal stenosis, contact USA Spine Care today.

Our team will be pleased to perform a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our 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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