Spinal stenosis is when the open areas of the vertebrae (spinal bones), which together house the spinal cord, become narrow. This narrowing naturally causes inward pressure on the spinal cord, which comprises nerves – and this nerve impingement can cause pain and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Anyone can develop spinal stenosis. In fact, young children can have spinal stenosis if they are born with a small spinal canal. However, it is much more common in people who are over the age of 50 as a degenerative bone condition.
Treatments include self-care remedies, physical therapy, medication, and physician-administered pain-relief injections into the spine. Let’s talk about some of the main effects of spinal stenosis, how it can be treated, and where you can go in Southeastern Michigan to find lasting relief from your back pain.
What Happens in Spinal Stenosis?
This issue can happen as our bones lose some of their strength and integrity over time. Bone tissue in the spine slightly degrades and no longer maintains all of its natural supportive structure, so it can “lean inward” against the spinal cord and essentially cause a pinched nerve.
The spinal cord is our body’s nerve center, connecting the brain with the rest of the body. The central nervous system comprises the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system connects the spinal cord to all other areas of the body for sensation and movement. That is why the inward pressure of the spinal vertebrae, as in the case of spinal stenosis, can cause radiating pain and numbness in the hips and legs.
What Are the Treatments for Spinal Stenosis?
Treatment of this condition depends on the exact location of the problem in the spine, the severity of your symptoms, your own overall health, and your preferences in treatment.
Home Remedies for Spinal Stenosis
Some of the things you can do to proactively help relieve the symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Gentle exercise
- Heat and cold therapy
- Maintaining good posture
- Maintaining an ideal weight
Many patients also try nontraditional therapies such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy. Be sure to inform your doctor about anything you’re implementing in your approach to treating spinal stenosis.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help provide temporary pain relief from spinal stenosis. Your healthcare provider may also recommend prescription medications with pain-relieving properties.
A favored treatment for spinal stenosis that doesn’t involve medicine is physical therapy. Your physical therapist can devise an exercise and stretching regimen that will help your back get stronger, and will also improve your balance, flexibility, and stability.
For people who just want the most effective and long-lasting non-surgical treatment for spinal stenosis, steroid injections may be your best bet. If you would like to try this treatment, your spine doctor will inject a solution of a steroid and an anesthetic into the hurting area of your spine. You are likely to enjoy relief for weeks or even months.
Surgery to Repair Spinal Stenosis
If you have trouble walking or issues with your bladder and bowels, surgery can be performed to create extra space in your vertebrae for your spinal cord. These options include:
- Spinal decompression
Your spine doctor will explain the best options in your case because each surgical treatment addresses different issues in the spine.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment in Rochester Hills, Michigan
If you have back pain, spinal stenosis, sciatica, or any other back or nerve condition, make an appointment to see Dr. Bradley Ahlgren. He will give you a thorough evaluation and determine a diagnosis, so you can choose the best approach.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Ahlgren, contact our friendly staff at Ahlgren Spine today by calling us at (248) 215-8080 or by filling out our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you find relief from your back pain!