Spinal Stenosis occurs when the small canal in the spinal cord compresses and narrows, subsequently causing pain, numbness or tingling in the neck, lower back or legs. This condition may be the result of a complication from osteoarthritis. However, spinal stenosis may also occur because of a spinal injury, abnormal growth or tumor within the spinal cord, or the thickening of the ligaments.
People over 50 years old are at risk for spinal stenosis. The pain could be disabling and could eventually lead to muscle weakness and loss of leg strength when left unmanaged or treated.
Although spinal stenosis can be very difficult to treat, patients can take some steps to manage to live with it.
Prevalence of Spinal Stenosis
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, spinal stenosis is prevalent among 19.4 percent of people between 60 to 69 years old. Patients who have been diagnosed with the condition earlier show an increase in the disorder’s progression as they age at the rate of 1.7 to 2.2 percent in their ’40s or ’50s, and at 10.3 to 11.2 percent when they are in their ’70s.
In the United States, 5.9 out of 100 patients undergo spinal surgery to correct the problem a year after the condition was diagnosed. It is the most common reason for most surgical procedures among 65-year-old patients.
How to Diagnose Spinal Stenosis?
To diagnose spinal stenosis, an orthopedic doctor will ask you about signs and symptoms and discuss your medical history. He or she will also conduct a physical examination, which is then confirmed with appropriate imaging studies. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) provides a very detailed visualization of spinal anatomy including any degenerative changes and resulting stenosis.
Managing Spinal Stenosis
There are practices that patients must do regularly if they are living with spinal stenosis. For one thing, patients must realize that the back pain symptoms will never go away without taking an active role in managing the condition and that medicating to treat the inflammation is just a temporary solution.
A study published in the Spine Journal revealed that spinal stenosis can be better managed if the patient does the following:
1. Exercise regularly and consistently.
To manage and control the pain in the lower back without surgery, the patient might need a specialized exercise program guided by a physical therapist for posture adjustment. The patient’s workout routines will likely include plenty of flexion exercises to strengthen the lumbar region.
In addition, the patient could also benefit from doing spinal extension routines. Activity and long-term exercise commitment, rather than a sedentary lifestyle, is helpful with spinal stenosis.
2. Work with a team of professionals.
Consulting different professionals to help with leg, back and neck pain is not only prudent but practical. The patient might want to see a spine specialist, an orthopedic expert, a neurologist and other doctors whose specialty are neurological-related symptoms. The patient must work together with a team of experts to slow down the progression of the disease and to enjoy a fuller life even with spinal stenosis.
Surgery for spinal stenosis is one of the most successful orthopaedic procedures with good to excellent results in the majority (>90%) of patients. Fortunately, minimally invasive techniques can make spine surgery a less invasive process.
Minimally invasive surgery for spinal stenosis is becoming more common. MIS has better cosmetic results, is less damaging to nearby tissue, and is more stabilizing to the spine. There is a reduced risk of postoperative pain and infection, as well as decreased reliance on pain medication. Recovery time is quicker, and less rehabilitation is needed.
Orthopaedic Surgery Associates: Trust the professionals
Orthopaedic Surgery Associates treat a range of conditions, including spinal stenosis. Our Board Certified doctors and fellowship-trained surgeons are a team of highly qualified and experienced orthopedic doctors who can evaluate your condition and symptoms. They can recommend the right pain management and treatment options for you.
If you have ever tried to find an orthopedic surgeon in Boca Raton or Boynton Beach, then you will know that there are many to choose from. When faced with such a large selection of orthopedic surgeons, it can be difficult to decide who to choose to treat your injury or condition.
Orthopaedic Surgery Associates has many of the leading orthopedic surgeons in Boynton Beach and Boca Raton. We are one of the most advanced orthopedic groups in Florida.
If you’d like to consult one of our orthopaedic surgeons, we are here for you. Our professional team of orthopedic physicians will take good care of you.
Our office serves patients in the Palm Beach County area with two convenient locations
Contact us for more information on how we can help you on your path to healing your orthopedic health condition.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.