Spinal stenosis is often caused by the narrowing of the spaces within the spinal cord, exerting pressure on the nerves in the spine. This tightened space within the spinal cord causes the nerves that branch off your spine to become compressed, pinched, and irritated. Spinal stenosis can also be triggered by the wear and tear in the spine due to osteoarthritis. Though some people dealing with spinal stenosis may not exhibit symptoms, the common symptoms of spinal stenosis include; pain, numbness, and a tingling sensation in the lower neck or back. In this article, we will discuss the various treatment options for spinal stenosis in Houston.
What are the causes of spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis can be caused by various factors that include:
- Tumors. Abnormal growths forming within the membranes covering the spine or in the spaces between the vertebrae and spinal cord can lead to spinal stenosis.
- Herniated discs. The soft cushions that serve as shock absorbers between your vertebrae tend to naturally dry out with age. This may lead to the development of cracks in the disc’s exterior that allow some of the inner cushion-like material to press on the spine’s nerves.
- Spinal injuries. Car collisions and any other trauma can lead to the formation of fracture or dislocations of one or more vertebrae. The swelling of a nearby tissue after back surgery can also exert pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.
- Thickened ligaments. The strong cords that help keep your bones and spine together can become thick and stiffened over time, causing a bulge on your spinal cord.
- Overgrowth of bone. The wear and tear of your spinal bones due to osteoarthritis can lead to the formation of bone spurs, which can exert pressure on your spring canal.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Since the narrowing of the spinal cord is usually a gradual process, you may or may not exhibit any symptoms of spinal stenosis once it develops. Nonetheless, some of the common symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Problems with balance
- Clumsiness or weakness in the leg, arm, foot, or hand
- Neck pain
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Tingling or numbness in the hand, foot, arm, or leg
- Loss of function in the hands, like finding it difficult to button shirts or write.
What are the treatment options for spinal stenosis?
There are various treatment options for spinal stenosis, but it all depends on the affected area and the extent of your signs and symptoms. If your doctor notices your symptoms are mild, a regular follow-up appointment may be recommended, among other home self-care tips. If these fail, your doctor may recommend physical therapy and prescribe medications such as:
- Pain relievers. such as naproxen, ibuprofen and acetaminophen. They are used to provide temporary comfort to your spinal stenosis symptoms.
- Opioids. Such as oxycodone, Roxicodone, and hydrocodone. They are used to provide long-term relief for your spinal stenosis symptoms.
- Anti-seizure drugs. such as Lyrica and gabapentin. They are used to reduce pain caused by damaged spinal nerves.
- Antidepressants. Such as amitriptyline, which can help ease chronic spinal stenosis pain.
Muscle weakness, numbness, or tingling may naturally occur sometimes, but if they recur, it could be an indication of spinal stenosis. In such cases, you should contact the medical team at Houston Pain Specialists, who will provide you with personalized treatment options. Get started today by scheduling your appointment online or call them.