Spinal stenosis is a medical condition in which the spinal canal narrows and compresses the spinal cord and nerves.
It’s critical that a highly trained physician accurately diagnoses the underlying cause of your back pain and other symptoms since the diagnosis dictates the treatment options. At your first visit, ask our doctor about the following possible treatment options for spinal stenosis before considering surgery.
Although a suitable program of spinal stenosis exercises may be helpful in the hands of a good physical therapist, it is not curative. Even though stenosis exercises are not a cure, however, it is very important for patients to remain active as tolerated and not additionally debilitated from inactivity; therefore, an appropriate spinal stenosis exercise program is a key part of any treatment program.
With this treatment for stenosis, patients are usually counseled to avoid activities that cause adverse spinal stenosis symptoms. Patients are typically more comfortable while flexed forward. Examples of activity modification for treatment of spinal stenosis might include: walking while bent over and leaning on a walker or shopping cart instead of walking upright; stationary biking (leaning forward on the handlebars) instead of walking for exercise; sitting in a recliner instead of on a straight-back chair.
An injection of cortisone into the space outside the dura (the epidural space) can temporarily relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis. While injections can seldom be considered curative, these spinal stenosis treatments can alleviate the pain in about 50% of cases. Up to three injections over a course of several months can be tried. Although they are not considered diagnostic in and of themselves, generally, if the pain caused by spinal stenosis is relieved by an epidural steroid injection, then the patient can also be expected to have a good result if they later choose to have spinal stenosis surgery.
Per above, most studies report that more than 50% of patients find measurable pain relief with epidural steroid injections. They also underscore the need for patients to enlist the services of professionals with extensive experience administering injections, and who always use fluoroscopy to ensure accurate placement.
Symptoms can be similar to those found with claudication (leg pain with walking) giving rise to the term pseudoclaudication for when they present in association with spinal stenosis. These symptoms include pain, weakness, and tingling of the legs. Any forward slipping of one vertebra on another can cause spinal stenosis by narrowing the canal. If this forward slipping narrows the canal sufficiently, and impinges on the contents of the spinal column, it is spinal stenosis by definition. If there are associated symptoms of narrowing, the diagnosis of spinal stenosis is confirmed.
Although occasionally the leg pain and stenosis symptoms will come on acutely, they generally develop over the course of several years. The longer a patient with spinal stenosis stands or walks, the worse the leg pain will get.
Flexing forward or sitting will open up the spinal canal and relieve the leg pain and other symptoms, but they recur if the patient gets back into an upright posture. Numbness and tingling can accompany the pain, but true weakness is a rare symptom of spinal stenosis. An older person leaning over the handle of their shopping cart while making short stumbling steps often has spinal stenosis.
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