Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas of the spine. This narrowing, which occurs most often in the lower back or neck, can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves that branch out from the squeezed areas. Typically, a person with this condition complains of severe pain in the legs, calves or lower back when standing or walking. Pain may come on more quickly when walking up or down a hill, a ramp or steps. Usually, it is relieved by sitting down or leaning over.
However, not all patients with spinal narrowing develop symptoms – and we still don’t understand why. Because of this, the term “spinal stenosis” actually refers to the symptoms of pain and not to the narrowing itself.
SPINAL STENOSIS SYMPTOMS
Many people have signals of spinal stenosis that show on an MRI or CT scan, although they may not have symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they often start off slowly and get worse over time. Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis vary depending on which nerves are affected and the location of the stenosis.
Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg
Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg
Problems with walking and balance
In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)
Pain or cramping in one or both legs when you stand for long periods of time or when you walk.
SPINAL STENOSIS CAUSES
Some people are born with a narrow spinal canal. However, spinal narrowing is most often due to age-related changes that take place over time.
The risk of developing spinal stenosis increases if:
You were born with a narrow spinal canal
You are female
You are 50 years+
You’ve had a previous spinal injury
Medical conditions may cause spinal stenosis includes:
Osteoarthritis and bone spurs.
Other Possible Causes of Spinal Stenosis Includes:
Overgrowth of bone. Damage from osteoarthritis on your spinal bones can prompt the formation of bone spurs. These can grow into the spinal canal causing irritation and pain.
Herniated disks. The disks between your vertebrae act as shock absorbers and are soft cushions that tend to degrade with age.
Thickened ligaments. The tough cords that help hold the bones of your spine together can become stiff and thickened over time.
Tumors. Abnormal growths can form inside the spinal cord, within the membranes that cover the spinal cord or in the space between the spinal cord and vertebrae. These are revealed with medical imaging procedures such as MRI & CT scans.
Spinal injuries. An injury involving the spine such as a slip and fall or car accident can trigger the progression of Spinal Stenosis. It is important to see a specialists as soon as possible after being involved in an injury.
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How is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?
Imaging tests are able to reveal Spinal Stenosis
These tests may include:
X-rays. An X-ray of your spine can reveal bony changes, such as bone spurs that may be narrowing the space within the spinal canal. An X-ray may be the first test that your doctor will order to test for Spinal Stenosis.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses a powerful magnet and radio waves to produce clear images of your spine. The MRI scan can reveal damage to your disks and ligaments, as well as detecting tumors. The scan can also show where the nerves in the spinal cord are being irritated.
CT or CT myelogram. If you are not able to have an MRI procedure then your doctor may recommend computerized tomography (CT), a test that combines X-ray images taken from many different angles to produce detailed images of your body. CT scan can be very useful in diagnosing Spinal Stenosis and determining the appropriate treatment options.
How is spinal stenosis treated?
Your doctor may prescribe:
Pain relievers. Pain medications such as ibuprofen may be used temporarily to ease the discomfort of spinal stenosis.
Antidepressants. Doses of tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, can help ease chronic pain.
Anti-seizure drugs. Some anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica), are used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
Opioids. This medications are not recommended for long term treatment of chronic pain due to their high dependency risks. Although, in severe cases some patients may need a daily dose to be able to function and enjoy life.
It’s common for people who have spinal stenosis to become less active, in an effort to reduce pain. But that can lead to muscle weakness, which can result in more pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises that may help:
Build up your strength and endurance
Maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine
Improve your balance
Spinal injections / Epidural Steroid Injections can provide great relief for patients suffering from Spinal Stenosis. Because your nerve roots may become irritated and swollen spinal injections can help reduce the amount of inflammation and pain.
Steroid injections don’t work for everyone and there are other medication injection options for those patients who don’t respond well to Epidural Steroid Injections. EPS’s should only be received a few times per year as repeated steroid injections can weaken the bones and muscle.
Stem cell therapy treatments
Stem cells are used to treat degenerative spinal disease, an approach sometimes called regenerative medicine. At Apex Pain Specialists we offer a wide variety of SC Therapy treatment options for patients who choose to explore that rout.
Alternative medicine can drastically improve the quality of life of a spinal stenosis suffering patient.
Spinal stenosis can lead to a lower quality of life with pain and depression along with loss of strength. The natural course of the disease is one of slow progression over time. There is no cure for this condition but there are steps you can take to feel better. Living a healthy and active lifestyle can play a major role in dealing with Spinal stenosis. These options include:
Regular exercise – walking, moving, swimming etc.
Finding a sleeping position or bed that reduces pain at night.
Often times when people think of “Pain Management” they relate the treatment to opioids. At Apex Pain Specialists our passion is to help patients avoid opioids as much as possible by offering a wide array of treatment options. When treating Spinal Stenosis, Apex may recommend Epidural Steroid Injections for the spine. Dr. Reddy & Dr. Massrour’s comprehensive approach to pain is what has lead us to being recognized as a top pain management clinic in Chandler, Arizona.
Apex Pain Specialists has been picked us the best pain management doctors in Chandler, Arizona. Our clinic faced a rigorous 50-Point Inspection, which includes customer reviews, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence. We are very knowledgeable in the treatment of Spinal Stenosis with Epidural Steroid Injections, PT & Meds. You deserve the best! We offer a comfortable environment for open discussion about your pain.
Unfortunately, car accidents that cause spinal injuries can trigger the gradual development of Spinal Stenosis. After seeing your primary care physician he/she may recommend visiting a pain management clinic. With so many options to choose from throughout the valley it may be hard to choose who to see first. At Apex we take away the doubt and place you in a state of confidence on your first visit.
Finding the right pain management clinic in Chandler for your Arthritis is vital to the longevity of proper pain relief. Chronic pain caused by Arthritis can be a life altering condition. Although, with the professional care from Apex Pain Specialists we can drastically improve our patients pain levels and quality of life. Read more about Arthritis here.
Sciatica can put more than a damper on a person’s life as the condition untreated may result in excruciating pain. At our Chandler pain management location we offer an array of treatment options for Sciatica including: Epidural Steroid Injections, Sacroiliac Joint Injections, Trigger Point & Tendon Injections, Sciatic Nerve Block & more.
Chronic neck pain can lead to muscle stiffness, spasticity, spasms, nerve issues and more. It is very important following a neck injury to immediately see a physician to exam the extent of the injury. Failing to address the injury can lead to muscle and nerve problems throughout the body. At Apex Pain Specialists’ Chandler pain clinic we take neck injuries very seriously and will walk you through a recommended treatment plan.
Only people who have experience back pain truly understand that it is beyond an inconvenience. Chronic back pain can lead to muscle pain, stiffness, spasticity, spasms, nerve issues and more. It is very important following a back injury to immediately see a physician to exam the extent of the injury. Failing to address the back injury can lead to muscle and nerve problems throughout the body along with other issues. At Apex Pain Specialists’ Chandler pain management clinic we take back injuries as if they were our own and are very understand and accepting of those patients who choose to use medical cannabis to manage their pain.
Athletic Injuries can drastically change one’s life especially when an athlete’s ability to perform is reduced. It is very important following any athletic injury to immediately see a physician to exam the extent of the injury. Failing to address the back injury can lead to muscle and nerve problems throughout the body along with other issues. At Apex Pain Specialists’ Chandler pain management clinic we take athletic injuries as if they were our own.
One of the most debilitating conditions is herniated discs or often called bulging discs. If left untreated the disc can eventually burst and place a person in several pain that sometimes requires surgery. If you are suffering from a herniated disc we encourage you to come in to see us as soon as possible so we can exam the injury and provide a plan of action.
Osteoarthritis also known as OA is a common joint disease that affects middle age and elderly people. This arthritis tends to occur in the hand joints, spine, hips, knees, and great toes. OA symptoms can vary greatly among patients.
At our Chandler pain management clinic Myofascial Pain is a common condition that we treat. Myofascial pain is a chronic, painful condition that affects the fascia (connective tissue that covers the muscles). The syndrome may involve either a single muscle or a muscle group. At Apex Pain Specialists we offer main treatment options including trigger point injections for Myofascial Pain.
When you’re looking for the best pain doctor, Chandler is home to two of Arizona’s premier pain specialists – Dr. Maziar Massrour and Dr. Naveen Reddy. These two highly sought after Arizona pain specialists are double-board-certified and have been recognized as Phoenix Magazine’s Top Pain Management Doctors.