Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spine (backbone). Your spinal cord travels through an opening, called a canal, in the center of your spine. Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal and the spinal nerve passageways. This presses the nerves that branch from the spinal cord to the rest of your body, causing back pain, neck pain, tingling, and other symptoms of spinal stenosis.
If you think you’re experiencing spinal stenosis symptoms, Find a Doctor at any of the following Dignity Health North State neurology centers:
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Spinal stenosis develops slowly over many years and mainly affects adults older than 50. It can occur anywhere along the spine. Some people have few or no signs and spinal stenosis symptoms at first.
Symptoms increase as the condition worsens and compresses the spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis symptoms vary depending on the location in your spine. They can include:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Tingling, numbness, and weakness in your arms and legs
Spinal stenosis symptoms are similar to signs of other spine problems. Your doctor will likely rely on X-rays and other imaging tests to accurately diagnose your condition.
Spinal Stenosis Causes
Between each bony vertebra in your spine are discs that cushion the spine and make it flexible. When these discs wear down (degenerate) with age and normal wear and tear, the vertebrae rub together. This contributes to spinal arthritis — the degeneration of the spinal joints. Your body responds by producing an abnormal amount of bone spurs, or bony projections on the edges of your bones. These calcifications build up over time, shrink spinal nerve passageways, and put pressure on the spinal nerves.
Osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease are the two main causes of spinal stenosis. Spinal injuries and conditions like scoliosis also increase the risk of spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment at Dignity Health North State
Spinal stenosis treatments focus on managing symptoms, opening up the spinal canal to relieve spinal cord compression, and protecting the health of your spine. Doctors at Dignity Health North State will work with you to assess your spinal stenosis symptoms and offer a personalized treatment plan. Common treatments for spinal stenosis include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- Oral corticosteroid medications
- Epidural spinal injection
- Physical therapy
- Spinal stenosis surgery, if other treatments don’t work
You can help limit changes in the spine and prevent or reduce spinal stenosis symptoms by practicing good posture, eating healthy foods to support your bone health, and strengthening your abdominal and back muscles.
Dignity Health North State offers diagnosis and personalized care with humankindness for patients with spinal stenosis in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.