Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

0

Believe it or not, you can have a lot of things  happening in your body without you even realizing it. Spinal Stenosis is one of those things. By the time you feel it, something may have to be done to slow down or reverse the symptoms that have finally decided to show themselves.

Let’s talk…

In spinal stenosis,  the space for the nerves or the spinal cord is narrowed,  potentially causing irritation of the nerve elements. It is an ongoing disease, we all have some degree of stenosis, but it has  progressed in some patients by the time they  feel the average symptoms of exertion fatigue, intolerance to walking any distance, leg pain (usually described as aching) and numbness and weakness.

In terms of anatomic,  or diagnostic evaluations,  MRI’s or CT scans can measure the diameters of the canal spaces.  A space less than 10 mm in diameter,  or 100 mm sq in area is considered to be a spinal stenosis. While the anatomic definition has been standardized,  many people may have spinal stenosis without any complaints related to the diagnosis.

Spinal stenosis can happen at any level of the spine. At the cervical and thoracic level it is especially worrisome as the openings for the nerves (foramina) and the spinal column are already narrow so any further bone buildup can cause compression on the nerves or the spinal cord. Initial symptoms can be numbness, tingling and weakness in the upper extremities. As compression on the cord increases, it could cause the same symptoms in the lower extremities. The most severe symptoms (and a good reason to go to the ER) would be paralysis, or loss of function in the bowel and bladder.

More common is  lumbar spinal stenosis. This is also due to a build up of bone around the lumbar foramina and patients generally present with low back pain and severe leg pain, numbness and tingling. The biggest clue that it is stenosis, is that the patient feels better when they lean forward, as in pushing a shopping cart. Poor circulation and neuropathy are often confused with spinal stenosis.

Because spinal stenosis complaints are usually associated with activities,  many times standard physical examinations by your general physician will not identify any specific nerve irritation findings.

Spinal stenosis is better defined by a clinical history,  rather than specific physical examination findings.  It takes a certain level of clinical suspicion to order diagnostic tests that will identify the anatomic findings discussed above. If there are concerns for spinal stenosis,  an evaluation by a spine specialist such as a Neurologist,  Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Physician,  or Spine Surgeon can help differentiate the potential causes for the symptoms.

Treatment of spinal stenosis can include: prevention (exercise and weight training to prevent osteoporosis), Epidural Steroid Injections (to calm down temporarily inflamed nerves) and decompressive surgeries (such as laminectomies or foraminotomies). The goal is to safely remove anything pressing on the nerves or spinal cord.

So if grocery shopping is the most comfortable thing you do all week, you may want to consider talking to your physician about this.

Citations

  • Yen D, Albargi A. Results and limitations of outpatient and overnight stay laminectomies for lumbar spinal stenosis. Can J Surg. 2017 Aug 1;60(5):2017. PubMed PMID: 28742014
  • Ka Man Ng K, Pui Yin Cheung J. Is minimally invasive surgery superior to open surgery for treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis? A systematic review. J Orthop Surg (Hong Kong). 2017 May-Aug;25(2):2309499017716254. PubMed PMID: 28656871

No comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Disclosure Statement

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

One of “6 Spine Physicians Ranked #1 on Google” – December 2016

Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

One of Ten Leaders of Certified Spine Programs – December 2011

 

The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
Please note all articles, blogs and Q&A’s on this site are general information and are not to be used as medical advice for individuals. No specific diagnosis or treatment should be made based on this information. Only a physician can provide you with advice specific to your situation. Please followup with your physician if you would like to discuss your individual condition.

If you are having a medical emergency,  contact your Doctor immediately,  or go to the Emergency Room.
ShimSpine and ShimSpine.com is committed to honoring and respecting the privacy and anonymity of the individuals using its website(s) and/or services. The purpose of this Privacy Policy is to inform the individuals about the collection, processing and protection of information done by ShimSpine what information we collect, why we collect this information and how we use this information.

This Privacy Policy will be reviewed regularly to reflect the up-to-date practices of ShimSpine.