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Where is spinal stenosis pain usually experienced?

Spinal stenosis pain can affect different areas of the body depending on the location and severity of the condition. Characterized by a narrowing of the spinal canal or nerve root exits in the spinal column, spinal stenosis frequently occurs in the lumber (lower) and cervical (upper) regions. If the narrowing occurs in the lumbar region, symptoms are typically felt in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet. Conversely, if the stenosis is in the cervical region and a nerve root is compressed, it usually affects the shoulders, arms and hands. If the spinal cord is compressed, it can lead to weakness in any area of the body below the point of compression. This means a patient with spinal stenosis in the neck can experience weakness in the legs and difficulty walking.

While some people are born with very narrow spinal canals, stenosis usually results from spinal trauma or a degenerative condition that encroaches on the already limited amount of space available in the spinal column. This can occur when a bone spur, or overgrowth of bone, forms in the spinal canal. It can also develop when a spinal disc bulges or herniates, allowing displaced disc material to press on or irritate the spinal cord or nearby nerve roots.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

While spinal stenosis does not always produce symptoms, some of the signs commonly displayed by both lumbar and cervical spinal stenosis include:

  • Back pain
  • Leg cramps
  • Pain that radiates through the extremities
  • Balance problems
  • Walking difficulties
  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Headaches

What to do

If you’re exhibiting one or more of these symptoms and suspect that you might have spinal stenosis, it’s best to see a doctor who can confirm your diagnosis and design a customized treatment plan to meet your needs. In many cases, conservative therapies like rest and targeted stretching are attempted initially. Then, if the spinal stenosis pain and other symptoms persist, a doctor might recommend cortisone injections or, as a last resort, surgical intervention.

Prior to consenting to any type of surgery, it’s best to explore all available options. The surgeons at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are safer and effective^ alternatives to traditional open spine surgery for addressing the pain of spinal stenosis and other degenerative spine conditions. To learn if you are a candidate for our procedures and to request a free review* of your MRI or CT scan, please contact us today.

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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