Spinal Stenosis


Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of either the spinal canal or as the nerves exit the spine. It may or may not be symptomatic. It can develop in the lumbar (lower back) or cervical (neck) regions, although can occur elsewhere. It is most common in those in the older age brackets, from 50 years of age and older.

What causes spinal stenosis?

spinal stenosis Stenosis can occur for a variety of reasons; the most common is degeneration of the spine. As the spine deteriorates, the joints form bony spurs which can decrease the size of the canal.

Disc degeneration and herniations can also cause encroachment in the canal, as can slippage of the vertebra such as in spondylolithesis. This is where the bone slips forward and closes down the canal, this can occur from injuries or from degenerative conditions. Spinal tumors, which are rare, can also cause stenosis.

This is why a thorough diagnosis is best if symptoms develop.

What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?

Most people can be unaware of any stenosis, as in the early stages no pain is felt. When the narrowing starts to affect the nerve roots or cord, the first signals will be a slow onset of symptoms.

You may be pain free, yet have numbness, weakness, cramping or general pain in your arms or legs, depending on where the stenosis is located. If the pressure on the nerve root is greater, then pain occurs and it will radiate down the leg or arm. If you sit or bend forward the symptoms will ease.

Severe stenosis will cause bladder and bowel problems along with foot disorders. If you experience loss of bladder or bowel control, have weakness or loss of feeling in one or both legs, then please seek help.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

The symptoms you exhibit give an indication stenosis is present, only in those with severe cases. If it is minor, then an x-ray or MRI will show the narrowing of the canal. However, minor stenosis may be present, yet be asymptomatic. The cause of your pain may still be elsewhere.

What are the traditional treatments for stenosis?

Symptom relief is the main focus in most cases. Reducing the inflammation of the nerve through medications, ultrasound, ice/heat or other means is most common. If the stenosis is severe and causing the more serious symptoms, then surgery is the only option and the wisest.

What else can you do to help the stenosis?

In those less severe conditions, the best approach is to encourage good function in the spine. If the stenosis is due to degeneration, then keeping the spine moving a well as possible is best. Removing spinal imbalances will help reduce the pressure caused by even a herniated disc.

When stenosis occurs, there will still be other structural issues, reducing or removing these will help with pain and discomfort. The reason why so many treatments fail is that they only look at the obvious situation.

Yet there may be more than one spinal condition present. Trigger points, muscle and joint imbalances are very common in all aches and pains, including spinal stenosis.

The principles of Spinal Balancing address the both the pain and the root cause of the condition that is responsible for your stenosis or the other conditions present. Through self assessments, your individual spinal imbalances can be identified, and a targeted corrective program can be developed for your specific needs.

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