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What Is Spinal Stenosis?

What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Do you have weakness in your arms or legs, and pain in your neck or back? Spinal stenosis is a common issue affecting the neck or lower back. 

At Steel City Spine, Dr. Jocelyn Idema and her staff have helped many patients experiencing debilitating neck or back pain. We have the training and skills to help you understand why you’re experiencing pain and to offer the treatment options that are most likely to be effective. 

In this post, we discuss spinal stenosis, what causes it, and what kinds of treatments are available. 

Spinal stenosis basics

Your spine is vital. It allows you amazing mobility and also houses the nerves of your spinal cord. Those nerves travel through the naturally occurring spaces in your spine and eventually exit to other parts of your body. 

As the space in your spinal column narrows, they can press on those nerves, causing irritation and inflammation. The result is pain and other uncomfortable symptoms, which can include: 

Spinal stenosis is usually progressive, meaning it gets worse over time. 

Causes of spinal stenosis

Anything that causes your spinal column to become narrower can result in spinal stenosis. The most common cause is osteoarthritis (OA). OA is sometimes referred to as wear-and-tear arthritis because it occurs with age or overuse of a joint.

OA can cause degenerative changes in your spine. For example, the tissues that normally protect your vertebrae and help them glide as you bend and twist can begin to break down. The result is inflammation and swelling and a narrowed passageway for the nerves of your spinal cord. 

Some other common issues that may lead to spinal stenosis include: 

More rarely, an abnormal growth or tumor can lead to spinal stenosis. 

Treatments for spinal stenosis

Once Dr. Idema has examined you and discovered where your spinal column is narrowed, why, and how narrow it has become, she may recommend treatments. She generally begins with conservative approaches such as: 

In cases of more severe spinal stenosis or if you don’t get relief from conservative treatments, she may suggest minimally invasive surgery. Surgical intervention may be the most effective way to repair underlying damage and ease the pressure on your nerves, relieving your symptoms. 

Minimally invasive surgery offers numerous benefits, including: 

Dr. Idema makes treatment suggestions based on your situation and always ensures you thoroughly understand your options. If you’d like to learn more about spinal stenosis and find out what treatments are likely to work for you, schedule your appointment today. 

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