As we get older, the wear and tear over our lives can lead to a narrowing of the spaces within the spine. This begins to cramp the space occupied by nerves that travel through the spine. This is called spinal stenosis.
At Texas Neurosurgery, we have a variety of treatment approaches. Usually conservative, non-invasive methods are effective. But in some cases we need to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves with decompression surgery.
Why does the spine become narrower?
The spine is a miracle of support, carrying heavy loads and dealing with various impacts, yet allowing a wide range of motion. Over time, our spine can show the wear and tear of these loads. Wear and tear causes damage from what is called osteoarthritis. As discs degenerate, they can allow the vertebrae to form bone spurs that can grow into the spinal canal. These impinge on the nerves.
Herniated disks also lead to stenosis. As we age, our disks dry out and can crack. This allows the soft gel inside to push outward, pressing on the spinal cord or nearby nerves.
Tumors can form inside the spinal cord, either within the membranes that cover the spinal cord or in the space between the spinal cord and the vertebrae.
Trauma from car accidents of other injuries can cause dislocations or fractures of one or more vertebrae. Displaced bone from these fractures can affect the spinal cord and nerves.
How is stenosis treated?
At Texas Neurosurgery, our treatment depends on your unique situation, how severe the compression and how much pain you are feeling. We typically begin with conservative treatment methods such as:
- Physical therapy
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Back braces
If these methods don’t relieve your pain, it may be necessary to remove the bulging disk that is pushing on the nerves, remove bone spurs or the area of the vertebra that is pushing on the cord or nerves, or to fuse two or more vertebrae together to eliminate movement and nerve impingement.
If you’re experiencing numbness, weakness, pain, and cramping in the legs, back, neck, shoulders, or arms, you may be suffering from spinal stenosis. Please give us a call at Texas Neurosurgery, (214) 823-2052, to schedule a consultation.