How to prevail over back pain caused by spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the small spinal canal, which contains the nerve roots and spinal cord, becomes compressed.

This causes a "pinching" of the spinal cord and nerve roots, which leads to pain, cramping, weakness or numbness. Usually, the narrowing is caused by osteoarthritis or by thickening of the ligaments in the back, as well as by a bulging of the discs that separate the vertebrae.
Causes of spinal stenosis
Some people are born with a small spinal canal. This is called "congenital stenosis". 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:

- You were born with a narrow spine canal

- You are a female

- You are 50 years old or older

- Previous injury or surgery of the spine


How it is diagnosed
A rheumatologist will ask about your symptoms and medical history. Some symptoms he will look for include:

- Numbness, weakness, cramping or pain in the legs, thighs or feet that makes it hard to walk

- Pain that goes down the leg

- Abnormal bowel/and or bladder function

- Loss of sexual Function

Spinal stenosis treatment

The type of spinal stenosis treatment you receive may vary, depending on the location of the stenosis and the severity of your signs and symptoms

NSAIDs. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Some NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) and naproxen (Aleve), are available without prescription.
Muscle relaxants. Medications such as cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril) can calm the muscle spasms that sometimes occur with spinal stenosis.
Antidepressants. Nightly doses of tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, can help ease chronic pain.
Anti-seizure drugs. Some anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) and pregabalin (Lyrica), are used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
Opioids. Drugs such as oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet, others) and hydrocodone (Lortab, Vicodin, others) contain substances related to codeine and can be habit-forming.
A physical therapist can teach you exercises that may help build up your strength and endurance, maintain flexibility, and improve balance.
Steroid injections
Your nerve roots may become irritated and swollen at the spots where they are being pinched. Injecting a corticosteroid into the space around that constriction can help reduce the inflammation and relieve some of the pressure.
Surgery may be considered if treatments that are more conservative have not helped and you are in good health otherwise to overcome after surgery weakness. The goal is to relieve the pressure on your spinal cord or nerve roots.
Regular exercise can help you build and maintain strength in the muscles of your arms and upper legs. This will improve your balance, ability to walk, bend and move about, as well as control pain. A physical therapist can show you which exercises are right for you.
Several recent studies have found that surgery produces better results than non-surgical treatment in the short term. However, results vary and, like all surgeries, this one also carries risks. These risks include blood clots in the brain or the legs; tears in the tissue around the spinal cord; infection; and injury to the nerve root. While surgery may bring some relief, it will not cure spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis and symptoms may recur.

Daniel is a doctor in a private hospital who helps patients to overcome the problems caused by spinal stenosis. In this post, he gives some useful tips for spinal stenosis treatment that does not causes any negative impact on health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Becker's Hospital Review/Becker's Healthcare. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

© Copyright ASC COMMUNICATIONS 2020. Interested in LINKING to or REPRINTING this content? View our policies by clicking here.


Featured Webinars

Featured Whitepapers