Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Dallas, TX
Spinal stenosis involves a narrowing in one or more areas of the spine as a result of injury or deterioration to the discs, joints or bones within the spinal canal.
Most cases of spinal stenosis develop later in life as a result of degenerative changes that occur in the spine. Osteoarthritis is the main cause of spinal stenosis, as it initiates the deterioration of the cartilage in the area and leads to the bones rubbing against each other and forming bone spurs. Spinal stenosis can also be caused by a herniated disc, ligament changes or spinal tumors.
Patients with spinal stenosis may experience cramping, pain and numbness in the legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms. A loss of sensation, loss of balance and bladder malfunctioning may also occur.
Diagnosis of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is often difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can come and go and may resemble the symptoms of other conditions. A diagnosis of spinal stenosis is usually achieved only after ruling out other conditions. Typically, doctors will perform imaging exams such as a spinal X-ray, MRI, CT scan and bone scan as well as ask questions about your symptoms and overall health to correctly diagnose your condition.
Most cases of spinal stenosis can be effectively treated through conservative methods such as physical therapy, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, rest and a back brace. For more severe cases, surgical procedures such as a decompressive laminectomy, laminotomy or fusion may be required to relieve pressure and join the damaged bone back to its normal state.
A subtype of spinal stenosis is foraminal stenosis. This condition is caused by a narrowing of the foramen, the opening within each of the spinal bones that allows nerve roots to pass through. As a result of aging or other musculoskeletal conditions such as arthritis, the foramen may gradually develop bone spurs that can press on the nerves, causing pain and other symptoms.
Patients with this condition may experience numbness, weakness and tingling sensations throughout the arms and legs, depending on which area of the spine is affected.
Effective treatment of foraminal stenosis can usually be achieved through nonsurgical techniques including anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid shots, physical therapy exercises or wearing a brace. Those patients whose conditions do not respond may require a surgical procedure called foraminotomy.
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