According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), up to 11 percent of the population suffers from spinal stenosis – a chronic, degenerative condition that occurs when the spinal canal narrows and compresses the nerves traveling through the spine. The condition is most common among people over the age of 50.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis depend on what region of the spine is affected (i.e., the cervical region, which is the neck; or the lumbar region, which is the lower back). In general, its symptoms include pain as well as numbness, weakness, and tingling sensation that can radiate into the extremities.
If you’re experiencing these problems, visit an orthopedic doctor, specifically one who specializes in spine disorders for a thorough evaluation and appropriate treatment. Although there is nothing your doctor can do to stop the progression of your condition, seeking treatment remains crucial for maintaining your mobility and overall quality of life.
Fortunately, spinal stenosis responds well to nonoperative treatment, with only less than 5 percent of patients requiring surgical intervention. Below are the most common treatment options for spinal stenosis.
Your spine specialist may first recommend self-care strategies (e.g., massage, hot baths, and avoiding certain activities like contact sports, too much bed rest, and long walks). However, if these don’t do the trick, your doctor may prescribe medications to provide pain relief and manage your other symptoms.
Your doctor may give you a neuropathic agent, such as gabapentin; opioid medication; antidepressant; or anti-inflammatory drug, or a combination of any of these to help quell your symptoms.
Epidural Steroid Injections (ESIs)
When oral pain medications fail to provide you with adequate relief, your spine specialist may give you epidural steroid injections instead. ESIs, which consist of a combination of corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medication) and anesthetic (numbing agent), are administered directly into the space outside the sac that surrounds your nerve roots (epidural space).
Once injected, the medication then gets dispersed into the nerve endings. Its main mechanism of action is preventing pain signals from traveling from your spine to your brain.
Because cortisone shots can weaken your bones and nearby muscles, your spine specialist may administer only three to four injections in a year.
For many people who suffer from spinal stenosis, the pain and other symptoms brought on by the condition can make exercise seem rather counterintuitive. However, it is imperative for a number of reasons, namely: it increases blood flow to the affected area of the spine, washes away toxic metabolites, and strengthens the muscles around the spine, thereby taking pressure off its bones and other static structures.
Your spine specialist may recommend physical therapy, through which you will learn safe exercises to improve the strength, mobility, and stability of your spine. Your therapist may incorporate other modalities, in conjunction with exercises, to help you effectively control your symptoms.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment Near Me in Rochester Hills, Michigan
Dr. Ahlgren is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in the treatment of the full range of conditions affecting the spine. With Dr. Ahlgren’s expertise, extensive experience, and excellent track record, you can count on him to help you break free from the pain and limitations imposed by your spine problem.
Book an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren now. Contact our office at (248) 215-8080 or fill out our appointment request form online now.