Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the normally open space along your bony spine called the spinal canal, which houses your spinal cord. Spinal stenosis puts pressure one or more of the 33 pairs of nerves branching off of your spinal cord to the rest of your body. Over time, many people experience spinal stenosis symptoms including back pain, neck pain, and numbness. Normal wear and tear of the spine with age (degenerative arthritis) causes most cases of spinal stenosis.
If you think you’re experiencing spinal stenosis symptoms in Northern California, neurologists at Dignity Health North State can provide the personal care you need. Find a Doctor online to make an appointment with any of our experts.
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Because spinal stenosis occurs gradually over time, you may not notice any signs until the condition is advanced. Eventually, you may experience spinal stenosis symptoms. These may vary depending on what nerve is affected and where it’s located on your spine and include:
- Neck pain, for cervical stenosis
- Back pain, for lumbar stenosis
- Arm or leg pain
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Muscle weakness in the arms or legs
- Difficulty walking fully upright
Diagnosing Narrowing of the Spine at Dignity Health North State
Neurologists at Dignity Health North State will perform multiple tests to assess your spinal stenosis symptoms. These may include:
- Physical exam, including assessing whether you can perform certain physical tasks, like touching your toes
- Imaging studies, including a spinal X-ray and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- EMG (electromyography) to evaluate muscle weakness
Other spinal conditions can cause signs similar to those of spinal stenosis. A herniated spinal disc, for example, can cause pain and muscle weakness in the arms or legs. If you’re over 50 and have spinal stenosis symptoms, your doctor will suspect the condition but work with you to rule out other possible causes first.
Once you’ve been diagnosed, your doctor will begin spinal stenosis treatments to relieve pain and other spinal stenosis symptoms.
Dignity Health North State offers diagnosis and personalized care for patients with spinal stenosis symptoms in Mt. Shasta, Red Bluff, and Redding, CA.