what is spinal stenosis, and how does it work?
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal cord becomes compressed from the vertebral column narrowing. The most common type of spinal stenosis is caused by degenerative arthritis of the spine. (1) This is most commonly localized to the facet joints and ligamentum flavum, with the resultant arthritic changes in the facet joints visible on radiographic studies.
The primary cause of spinal stenosis is chronic pain, usually in the neck or low back. It has been reported that over 75% of Americans will experience back pain in their lives. Leading causes of low back pain vary from acute injuries, such as traumas, to chronic pain from a variety of reasons.
What happens when we have low back pain or stress that doesn’t go away or we have for years? The stress on the joints in the spine and muscles surrounding the spine may hypertrophy (grow) and result in narrowing the area surrounding the spinal cord.
causes of spinal stenosis
CT scanning and MRI studies in patients who are asymptomatic and younger than 40 years demonstrate a 4-28% occurrence of spinal stenosis. (2) Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) remains the leading preoperative diagnosis for adults older than 65 years who undergo spine surgery.
The pathophysiology of spinal stenosis results from chronic stress on joints over time, leading to bone formation surrounding the spinal cord. The decreased space around the spinal cord creates a narrowed area (stenosis) around the spinal cord, often times resulting in radiculopathy, muscle weakness or chronic pain.
Options for treating spinal stenosis in colorado springs
Exercises are typically recommended for conservative treatment of spinal stenosis and include a series of sciatic nerve stretches, postural correction and corrective exercises.
Chiropractic adjustments for improved mobility of the spine combined with decompression tables have successfully been used to treat musculoskeletal and neurologic symptoms from spinal stenosis.
Laser light therapy can be beneficial in reducing inflammation from chronic pain as well as provide pain relief.
Other options include management of medications including NSAIDS, epidural injections and possible surgery. Given the nature of the condition, symptoms tend to get worse over time if not treated.
how thrive can help spinal stenosis
Our doctors can provide a thorough examination to evaluate if you are a candidate for chiropractic or other services. Imaging studies used in LSS typically include standard radiography (x-rays) or MRI.
The goal of spinal imaging is to localize the site and level of disease. Results of your radiographs or MRI can help differentiate conditions for which patients require surgery and conditions for which patients can seek relief with conservative treatment.
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Lee SY, Kim TH, Oh JK, Lee SJ, Park MS. Lumbar Stenosis: A Recent Update by Review of Literature. Asian Spine J. 2015 Oct. 9 (5):818-28.
Kalichman L, Cole R, Kim DH, Li L, Suri P, Guermazi A, et al. Spinal stenosis prevalence and association with symptoms: the Framingham Study. Spine J. 2009 Jul. 9(7):545-50.
Matthew D. Spaur, D.C.
Thrive Health Systems
4671 Centennial Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO 8019