Found most frequently in the neck and lower back, spinal stenosis occurs when the open areas within the spine narrow, the result of which increases pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Although not always symptomatic, spinal stenosis can cause pain, numbness, muscle weakness and even bladder and bowel control issues in some patients.
If you’re experiencing severe spine pain, numbness or weakness, the doctors at La Peer Health Systems’ Spine Center of Excellence can help. Schedule an appointment with our spine surgeons today to see if you may be suffering from spinal stenosis.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Although many cases of spinal stenosis result from the normal aging process, certain spine injuries and conditions can exacerbate the problem. Here are some common causes of spinal stenosis:
Bone spurs. Previous injuries to the spine can result in bone spurs, or bony growths extending from the normal bone. The presence of bone spurs could result in added pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, leading to spinal stenosis.
Herniated discs. When a disc becomes herniated, the soft, jelly-like substance at its center may escape the hard exterior to press on the spinal cord and nerves.
Tumors. In rare cases, abnormal growths or tumors within the spinal cord can lead to spinal stenosis.
Spinal injuries. Traumatic events like physical altercations, car accidents and certain back surgeries can lead to spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment Options
Because the symptoms of spinal stenosis may resemble other back and spine conditions, the doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence will likely order imaging tests before making a diagnosis about your spine pain. Our surgeons may order an MRI or CT scan to diagnose spinal stenosis. They may also recommend X-rays to rule out other back-related issues and conditions. Once a diagnosis of spinal stenosis has been made, doctors can determine the best course of treatment.
Fortunately, a number of treatment options exist to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with spinal stenosis. For many patients, over-the-counter medications, muscle relaxants and physical therapy provide sufficient relief. However, more serious cases of spinal stenosis may require surgical intervention to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Contact us today for more information about spinal stenosis treatment.
Laminectomy for Spinal Stenosis
The doctors at the Spine Center of Excellence commonly perform a laminectomy for patients with severe spinal stenosis. You will be under general anesthesia during the procedure. After creating a small incision in the back, our spine surgeons will use small tools to remove the lamina (back section) of the vertebrae in question in order to widen the spinal canal and alleviate pressure. For some patients, doctors may also need to fuse the vertebrae back together.
Although patients can go home shortly after undergoing a laminectomy, complete recovery can take several weeks. Our spine surgeons may advise you to avoid strenuous activity and lifting for a period of time after having surgery.
Coflex for Spinal Stenosis
A coflex spinal device refers a type of implant that is utilized in conjunction with decompression surgery for the treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis. After a surgeon performs decompression to reduce pressure on the spine, a coflex spinal device is implanted between the vertebrae to stabilize and secure the spine. This is done in place of the traditional spinal fusion, which fixes two vertebrae together and prevents and further movement. The advantage of coflex is that it preserves the natural range of motion in the spine while also supporting the spine and keeping it stable.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What causes spinal stenosis?
A: A number of factors including bone spurs, herniated discs, spine injuries and the natural wear-and-tear that accompanies that aging process can all lead to spinal stenosis.
Q: Is laminectomy a safe procedure for treating spinal stenosis?
A: A laminectomy is generally considered to be a safe procedure. However, in rare cases, patients can suffer infection, membrane tears and blood clots after laminectomy.
Q: How effective is laminectomy for treating spinal stenosis?
A: Most patients report a significant decrease in back and leg pain after surgery.
Q: Can spinal stenosis recur after surgery?
A: Because spinal stenosis is linked to the normal aging process, the symptoms can recur if nerves once again become compressed.
Q: Who should consider having a laminectomy?
A: Contact our surgeons if your spinal stenosis has failed to improve with more conservative treatments such as medication and therapy.
Contact the Best Spinal Surgeons
If the symptoms of spinal stenosis are interfering with your daily life, the doctors at the Spine Center can help. Call (888) 564-1419 for a consultation with our team.
Next, find out more about scoliosis.