The spinal canal is a cavity that runs through the center of the vertebrae in the bony spinal column. The spinal cord travels through this opening, sending messages between brain and the rest of the body. Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal and the spinal nerve passageways. This narrowing causes compression of the the nerves in the spinal cord.
At Dignity Health Southern California, our neurology experts are committed to providing care with respect and humankindness. Find a Doctor online to receive a diagnosis for your symptoms and treatment for your spinal stenosis in Southern California today. We offer complete neurology and neurosurgery services at our local hospitals:
Spinal Stenosis Causes
The main causes of spinal stenosis are degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis.
Discs between your vertebra cushion the spine and provide flexibility. With age and normal wear and tear, these discs wear down (degenerate) and the vertebrae begin to rub together. This contributes to spinal arthritis — the degeneration of the spinal joints. Your body responds by producing bony projections where the vertebrae meet called bone spurs. As these calcifications build up over time, the passageway for the spinal nerve narrows, compressing the spinal nerves.
Spinal conditions, such as scoliosis, and spinal injuries, can increase the risk of spinal stenosis. Adults older than 50 are also more likely to develop spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Spinal stenosis develops slowly over many years. In its early stages, some people have few or no signs and symptoms. Symptoms become more apparent as the condition worsens and compresses the spinal nerves.
Because spinal stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine, symptoms will vary. Signs and symptoms can include pain in your neck or back, and numbness, pain, tingling, or weakness in your arms and legs. Many spine problems have similar symptoms, so your Dignity Health Southern California doctor will likely order X-rays and other imaging tests to diagnose your condition.
Prevention & Treatment of Spinal Stenosis at Dignity Health Southern California
Our neurologists want to help maintain your health and well-being before you develop spinal stenosis. To prevent or limit spinal stenosis and degenerative changes in the spine, we suggest that you:
- Practice good posture
- Utilize proper body mechanics
- Eat nutritious food to maximize bone health
- Strengthen your abdominal and back muscles
Strategies for treating spinal stenosis at Dignity Health Southern California focus on managing symptoms and opening up the spinal canal to relieve spinal cord compression. Common treatments include:
- Oral corticosteroid medications
- Epidural spinal injection
- Physical therapy
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
Talk to your neurologist today to fully understand your options and how we can partner with you in relieving your symptoms. Dignity Health offers specialized care for neurological conditions, including spinal stenosis, in Southern California.