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Lower back and neck pain can make you put a pause on daily activities you love to participate in as a result of pain. If you are living with pain and it is slowly getting worse with time and the ways in which you are coping with it is no longer effective, you may need professional help.
At Select Health of the Twin Cities, we offer non-surgical treatments and options for all of your neck and back pain. The amazing thing about our bodies, is they were designed to heal themselves, so our programs and treatments guide it toward natural healing through evidence-based techniques that are improving our patients’ lives.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal cord channel, and as a result, this obstruction places pressure on the nerves which is the source of the pain found in the neck and lower back. While some people don’t experience pain, over time, many will in addition to muscle weakness, numbness, and tingling.
Like many other disc injuries, spinal stenosis is often age-related from prolonged wear and tear and also from osteoarthritis.
The Different Types of Spinal Stenosis
You can differentiate the type of degradation in the spinal column in which it occurs, which is how the two types are differentiated.
The two major types of spinal stenosis include:
- Cervical stenosis – In this type, the narrowing of the spinal cord occurs closer to the part of the spine located in the neck.
- Lumbar stenosis – This type of spinal stenosis occurs where the narrowing is associated to the lower back — it is also the most common type of spinal stenosis.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
While you may have lower back or neck pain, it may not always be associated with spinal stenosis, but rather another disc-related issue. The only way to truly know if you have spinal stenosis is through diagnostics such as an MRI or CT scan, and sometimes the patient doesn’t even realize they have it because they have no symptoms.
If you do have symptoms, they may begin gradually and get worse over time and you may experience the following:
- Neck pain
- Numbness or tingling in the upper limbs
- Balance and walking issues
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction
- Back pain
- Cramping and pain in your legs when standing or walking
- Numbness or tingling in lower limbs
What are the causes of spinal stenosis?
Again, aging is one of the leading causes of spinal stenosis, however, some are born with smaller spinal canals that can subject them to spinal stenosis as they mature. Other factors include:
- Herniated discs – As the discs age, they become dehydrated and dry and are subject to cracks and tears, which press up against the nerves and cause pain.
- An abundance of bone – If osteoarthritis is present, the wear and tear from the spinal bones can create bone spurs that grow and obstruct the spinal canal. Paget’s disease can also affect the spinal canal, as it also causes bone growth.
- Stiff ligaments – Over time, sprite ligaments can become tough and thick causing them to press into the spinal canal causing pain.
- Spinal trauma – Spinal traumas and injuries that result from car accidents or accidents can fracture and dislocate the vertebrae in your spine. If there is any bone displaced into the spinal canal this may cause spinal stenosis.
- Tumors – Growths can occur in the spinal canal, crowding the space and causing spinal stenosis. While they are uncommon, they do happen and can be identified and diagnosed through a CT scan or MRI.
Spinal Stenosis Prevention and At-Home Relief
It is important to monitor the progress of your lower back and neck pain, but schedule an appointment if the pain becomes unmanageable and disruptive to your daily activities.
Lifestyle – Spinal stenosis is a result of aging, but you can better quell its effects by living a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, staying active everyday, and limiting alcohol and nicotine use.
You can manage pain at home with the following:
- Pain relievers
- Hot/cold packs
- Using a cane or walker for stability
Spinal Stenosis Care at Select Health of the Twin Cities
Our facility tackles spine and disc issues differently — without the use of pharmaceuticals or surgery! Find pain relief and get back to living with our help!