What Is Spinal Canal Stenosis?

Spinal canal stenosis is a degenerative condition associated with a narrowing of the spinal canal. The condition can lead to back pain, muscle weakness, stiffening of the ligaments along the spine, and other symptoms. Several treatment options are available for managing symptoms. Dr. Ali Nairizi, the board-certified interventional pain specialist and anesthesiologist at United Pain Urgent Care in Reno, NV, diagnoses and treats spinal canal stenosis.

Spinal Canal Stenosis

Spinal canal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs slowly over time. The canal contains the spinal cord, nerves, ligaments, and blood. When the canal is too narrow, it puts pressure on the spinal cord, nerves, and ligaments inside. As the condition progresses, the ligaments can become stiff, and overgrowth of bone can occur, and bone spurs can develop. Spinal canal stenosis can affect any region of the spine, but most often occurs in the lower lumbar area.

Symptoms of Spinal Canal Stenosis

The symptoms of spinal canal stenosis are not always apparent right away. One common sign of the condition is dull back pain that eventually becomes more severe over time. Back pain sometimes also flares up during certain types of activities.

The specific symptoms experienced depend on the area of the spine affected by the stenosis. Symptoms could include:

  • Back pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Balance and coordination problems
  • Numbness or tingling in the thighs, buttocks, arms, hands, or neck
  • Difficulty holding objects
  • Clumsiness

Causes of Spinal Canal Stenosis

Stenosis affects both men and women and usually develops when an individual is between 50-70 years of age. It is normal for the spinal canal to narrow somewhat as part of the aging process. However, certain medical conditions can also lead to spinal canal stenosis, including:

  • Degenerative spinal conditions
  • Metabolic conditions (e.g., Paget’s disease)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Vertebral fractures

Treatments for Spinal Canal Stenosis

Spinal canal stenosis cannot be cured, but there are many effective treatments for managing pain and other symptoms. There are several nonsurgical options that work extremely well when the condition is caught early. Some of the methods for treating spinal canal stenosis at our Reno, NV, office include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Facet joint injections
  • Surgery

When the stenosis has progressed to the point of bone overgrowth and spurs, surgery might be needed. Removing the bone overgrowth helps take pressure off of the nerves in the spinal canal. Dr. Nairizi develops individualized treatment plans based on the location and severity of the stenosis, symptoms, and other factors.

If you are experiencing back pain and other related symptoms, stenosis could be the cause. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nairizi to learn about the diagnosis and treatment of spinal canal stenosis by calling United Pain Urgent Care in Reno, NV, at (775) 384-1380.

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