Spine Stenosis: Ending The Pain

Spine stenosis, a debilitative disease, afflicts millions of people age 50 and older.The quality of life of those with spine stenosis suffers significantly, due to impaired mobility and almost continual discomfort.The pain and discomfort associated with spine stenosis can, however, be minimized through focused treatment.

Spine stenosis is a condition which occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows, putting extra pressure on the spinal canal and nerve roots.The symptoms of spine stenosis – cramps, numbness and pain – may manifest in the neck, shoulders and arms, or in the legs, buttocks and lower back.The condition can make even the simple act of walking, especially for long distances or periods of time, a difficult chore. Those suffering worse cases may experience difficulty with urination or bowel movements, and might also experience problems maintaining their balance while walking.

People suffering from spine stenosis often feel pain in the areas of the body to which the nerves in the spinal cord are directly connected. Sciatica, a searing pain which radiates downward through the buttocks and legs, is caused by spine stenosis.

Spine stenosis naturally occurs in people age 50 or older and is the most common reason for surgery in the U.S. for people aged 60 and up. People as young as their thirties, however, can contract a congenital form of the condition. Another form of spine stenosis, called a stinger, is usually caused by significant trauma to the head or neck, and sometimes afflicts athletes.

Most sufferers of spine stenosis may feel some relief if they lean forward while sitting or standing, which takes some of the pressure off of the spinal column. This adjustment has the effect of increasing the amount of space surrounding the spinal cord.Once the patient stands or walks, though, the pain resumes quickly.

Learning the condition’s extent is relatively easy, through a variety of tests the doctor can perform.Of course, your medical history may provide valuable information about the condition’s progress. In addition, the doctor may also execute “range of motion” tests, and quantify any pain produced by that motion. He may also measure whether any numbness or weakness have impacted your reflexes.Depending on the outcomes of the earlier tests, the doctor may decide that a CAT scan or an MRI is in order.

The data learned from the exams will help the doctor to form a recommendation for either surgical or non-surgical treatment. Of major concern when making this recommendation is the severity of the pain the patient’s suffering from.Stretching exercises, lumbar strengthening and massage therapy are all elements of non-surgical treatment.Some pain relief strategies include the prescription of anti-inflammatory medications and even acupuncture.

Surgical treatment is usually only prescribed in extreme cases and includes spinal fusion and laminectomy. Two or more vertebrae are permanently fused together in spinal fusion. This acts to increase stability and prevent painful motion.A laminectomy is a procedure that removes some ligaments and the bone spurs that are compressing the nerve roots, thus making more room for the nerve roots.

Spine stenosis is an affliction that dramatically impacts the lives of those it attacks.However, sufferers can lead a fairly normal life with proper treatment, either surgical or non-surgical, which can keep the condition under control.

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