At McLaughlin Chiropractic Center in Morehead City we treat patients with a wide variety of conditions including minor sports injuries, back pain and poor posture. These types of health problems can usually be resolved fairly quickly using chiropractic treatments and lifestyle adjustments
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
The human spine is made from a long stack of vertebrae bones. These bones support the upper body and protect the spinal cord. The spinal cord runs along the vertebral canal, with nerves exiting from openings in each vertebrae.
Spinal stenosis causes the spinal column to narrow over time, which can compress the spinal cord or the nerves exiting from it. If the narrowing is severe, it can cause a variety of symptoms including:
- Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot, leg, or buttocks
- Lower back and/o buttock pain, particularly while standing or walking
- Leg or arm weakness
- Difficulty balancing
There are several causes of spinal stenosis including age-related spinal degeneration which causes thickening of the bone, spinal curvature, scoliosis, Paget’s disease of the bone, and bone tumours. Some people are simply born with a naturally narrow vertebral canal or congenital issues causing malformed vertebrae.
Conditions like osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to spinal stenosis as they cause inflammation which puts additional pressure on spinal nerves.
Spinal stenosis is usually diagnosed by performing scans (MRI, CT scan, X-ray, bone scans) and an electromyelogram test to check the health of the nerves.
How Can Spinal Stenosis Be Helped?
Home remedies including hot/cold therapy and massage can sometimes ease pain for patients with mild spinal stenosis.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to relieve pain associated with mild cases of spinal stenosis. Physicians can also use cortisone injections to relieve inflammation and take the pressure off nerves.
When patients have severe spinal stenosis, they often need to have surgery to ease their symptoms. The most common types of surgery used to treat this condition are:
- Foraminotomy – This surgery widens the part of the spine where the nerves exit, relieving nerve compression.
- Laminectomy – This is the most common form of surgery for spinal stenosis. The surgeon removes part of the vertebrae, providing more room for the nerves.
- Spinal fusion – Patients who have spinal stenosis in several locations may benefit from spinal fusion surgery. This procedure involves the removal of intervertebral discs and the fusion of vertebrae using bone grafts or metal implants. This takes pressure off the affected spinal nerves.