Spinal Stenosis May Be the Source of Your Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Everyone experiences neck or back pain at some point in life. Whether it is caused by sleeping in an uncomfortable position, the burden of a hiking backpack, or the general stress of aging, the presence of minor back and neck pain does not necessarily indicate the presence of an orthopedic issue.
However, pain that persists or progressively worsens over time may be the symptom of a serious spinal condition. One such issue that emerges gradually and produces worsening symptoms with time is spinal stenosis.
Though symptoms are typically mild enough during the initial onset of spinal stenosis to be disregarded or mistaken for minor back pain unprompted by any orthopedic condition, they may progress to the point where your ability to perform routine activities (such as walking, standing or sitting) without severe pain or impaired balance and mobility is compromised when left untreated.
Residents and visitors of the Aspen area are active, natural adventure-seekers. Whether you are a mountaineering athlete in otherwise excellent health or an independent senior, spinal stenosis symptoms (from chronic spinal stenosis pain to the unfortunate possibility of incontinency) pose a direct threat to your active lifestyle. At OrthoAspen, we are dedicated to utilizing leading-edge technologies and treatments, combined with expertise of our physicians, to get our patients back to living their dreams as quickly and completely as possible.
Causes and Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is an orthopedic condition that causes the spine to become compressed, reducing space within the spine and creating pressure on spinal nerves. Stenosis may affect either the neck or the back. Narrowing of the spine within the neck region is known as cervical stenosis; narrowing that affects the lower back is known as lumbar stenosis.
There are numerous issues that may cause the spine to narrow, resulting in spinal stenosis. These include:
- Osteoarthritis and the associated wear and tear of the spine and its associated cartilage and tissue.
- Traumatic injuries of the spinal and consequential spinal damage
- Herniated spinal discs
- Thickening of the ligaments that support the spine
- Formation of bone spurs and overgrowth of spinal bone
- Paget’s disease
- Tumor growth inside the spinal cord or between the spinal cord and vertebrae
The damage and pressure on spinal nerves caused by spinal stenosis may cause one or more of the following spinal stenosis symptoms:
- Back pain along the spine
- Pain along the back of the neck
- Numbness and tingling sensations in the leg, buttocks, foot, arm or hand
- Cramps and aching leg pain while walking or standing
- Impaired ability to walk
- Impaired balance
- Incontinence and/or bladder dysfunction
To diagnose whether the back or neck issues you are experiencing are caused by spinal stenosis, your orthopedic specialist will discuss any present symptoms as well as your medical history. A number of diagnostic and imaging tests will typically be performed, including:
- Physical examination
- MRI scans
- CT scans
- CT myelograms
- Bone scans
If it is determined that you are suffering from spinal stenosis, your doctor will discuss viable treatment options with you and compose a personal treatment plan.
Treatment at OrthoAspen
At OrthoAspen, we understand the value of active lifestyles, both for overall health and quality of life. That’s why we are committed to providing you with the effective, comprehensive treatments needed to overcome your spinal stenosis and provide long-term relief for the painful associated symptoms. We are proud to offer advanced, integrative care for patients of spinal stenosis. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.