Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes a narrowing of the spine, resulting in excess pressure on the spinal cord. This pressure often causes patients moderate to severe pain. Though most patients suffering from spinal stenosis are over the age of 50, younger patients with spinal injuries or a narrow spinal canal are also at risk of developing stenosis. There are several potential causes for spinal stenosis, including herniated discs, overgrowth of bone, thickened ligaments, and tumors. Arthritis and scoliosis are other factors which can raise a patient’s risk of developing spinal stenosis.

How is Stenosis Diagnosed?

Spinal stenosis is typically diagnosed with the help of diagnostic imaging. X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computerized tomography (CT) are all methods of determining if a patient has stenosis. Not all patients are symptomatic, but in some, symptoms may appear gradually over time. These symptoms include pain in the back or neck, numbness, weakness, pain in the leg, or problems with the foot.
Spinal Stenosis

Treatment Options

There are a number of treatment options available to patients suffering from stenosis. The physicians at Pontchartrain Orthopedics & Sports Medicine offer several methods of Interventional Spine Treatments, such as epidural injections. Epidural injections are corticosteroids administered directly into the area around the spinal cord, targeting the source of pain for stenosis patients. Physicians often use fluoroscopy to help with proper placement of these injections during the treatment. These injections reduce inflammation, reduce pressure and alleviate pain. Interventional Spine Treatment, used in conjunction with physical therapy to promote muscle strength, can alleviate the symptoms of many patients suffering from spinal stenosis.

When interventional spine treatments are no longer effective, surgical intervention may be something to consider. Surgical treatments usually involve decompression procedures (removing pieces of tissue to take pressure off nerves), fusion procedures (combining two segments of the spine to achieve stability), and sometimes a combination of the two. Many of these procedures can be done through a minimally invasive approach and with computer guided technology.