As we age, our bodies experience the natural wear-and-tear of daily life—something we notice readily in places like the skin or our vision and mobility. However, the spine is also subject to this process of degeneration. One of the most common conditions people experience as they age is spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is generally referred to as narrowing of the space between the vertebrae, known as the spinal canal.
Spinal stenosis is common with older patients, and it’s usually caused by degenerative changes of the spine, such as arthritis or herniated or bulging discs. Heredity, spondylolisthesis (vertebrae slipping forward), spinal tumors and trauma can also cause spinal stenosis.
Although spinal stenosis primarily affects older people, it can also happen with younger people, most often due to congenital factors, such as large herniated discs, or developmentally short pedicles, which is the natural narrowing of the spinal canal.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Numbness or tingling, especially in the lower back and legs.
- Gradual to sudden clumsiness. A loss of coordination and increased frequency of imbalance can be caused by spinal stenosis.
- Difficulty walking. If you’re having pain or trouble performing daily activities while walking, it could be spinal stenosis.
The nerve roots and spinal cord are located within this space, and compression can cause the nerves to become pinched. Most commonly, people experience this phenomenon in the neck or low back, and it can lead to pain or numbness in the neck, shoulders, arms, back, legs, and/or calves. Symptoms start slowly and worsen over time, and while there is no cure for the condition, treatment can reduce pain and improve flexibility.
Spinal stenosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mirror different, similar issues. This can include CT scans, MRI, or X-rays. The chiropractors at Texas Spine Clinic take extensive time and care in making sure you have the right diagnosis and treatment.
Treatments range depending on the severity and the patient, but commonly includes therapy for correcting posture, physical therapy, temporary to permanent lifestyle changes, and can include certain medications. There are times when surgery is necessary, but this is uncommon, and only occurs on a case-by-case basis.
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Suffering with chronic or constant pain keeps you from getting the fullest enjoyment from daily activities. Contact Texas Spine Clinic to schedule an appointment and gain relief from chronic pain.