Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal column is narrowed, and the spinal cord gets compressed. Spinal column is composed of bones called vertebrae. Vertebral bones provide structural stability, protects the spinal cord and supports the body for movements. The severity of the condition depends on the extent of narrowing of the spinal column or the backbone in common terms. Spinal stenosis mostly occurs in the neck and lower back.
- Congenital defects (present at birth)
- Overgrowth of bones
- Conditions like scoliosis and Paget’s disease
- Bone cancers or tumours
- Injuries to the spine
- Herniated discs
- Inflammatory conditions like arthritis
- Thickening and stiffening of ligaments
Symptoms of spinal stenosis vary depending on the location and severity of the stenosis. Very mild conditions may not exhibit any symptoms. Symptoms once appear might worsen over time.
- Neck pain
- Lower back pain
- Numbness in arms or legs
- Limb weakness
- Back pain
- Review of signs and symptoms
- Medical history
- Physical examination
- X-ray, MRI, CT scan
- Bone scan
- CT Myelogram
Preventive measures for spinal stenosis include practices for maintaining good spinal health.
- Maintain good posture
- Regular exercise, especially strengthening exercises
- Maintain healthy weight
Treatment for spinal stenosis depends on the location and severity of the condition.
- Medications may be prescribed by your doctor for pain relief.
- Physical therapy is recommended to practise exercises for improving spine flexibility and stability, strengthening and stretching muscles, improving balance and building up strength.
- Surgery may be required in severe conditions where there is severe pain or a neurological loss and when other treatments have not shown any prognosis. The major objective of surgery is to remove pressure on the spinal cord through different procedures.
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