Narrowing of the spinal canal and/or foramen where nerve roots exit the spinal canal which results in choking of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots
Stenosis of the spine can involve:
- Narrowing of the central spinal canal (space where the spinal cord lies). This is also called a Myelopathy.
- Narrowing of foramen through which the nerve roots exit the spinal canal
Most commonly happens in the Cervical Spine (neck) and Lumbar Spine (lower back)
What is the cause?
The most common cause of Spinal Stenosis is due to the wear and tear, which comes with the aging process. Specific causes include:
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Facet joint arthritis (also known as Spondylosis) as we age and our discs lose fluid and height. There is an increased pressure placed through our facet joints, which connect one vertebra to another. Facets can become thickened and extra bone can grow into the spinal canal
Ligamentum flavum thickening: With age and stress the ligament can thicken which narrows the spinal canal
Signs & Symptoms
Some people can present with no symptoms however you may experience pain, numbness, pins and needles muscle weakness or loss of control of bladder and bowel. If you have loss of bladder or bowel control you may have Cauda Equina Syndrome (If you experience this you should consult a medical professional immediately).
What can we do about it?
The therapist’s at Elite Spinal Physiotherapy will identify the cause of your spinal stenosis and help in reducing symptoms (pain, pins and needles, numbness, weakness). They will also be able to refer you to the appropriate specialist if required.
A spinal decompression and core strengthening exercise program will be developed to help prevent any re-occurrence of symptoms and appropriate manual therapy will be used.
In most cases the spinal stenosis cannot be reversed however the progression of the stenosis can be greatly reduced, so you can enjoy a pain free, active life for as long as possible.