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Spinal Stenosis Causes, Symptoms and Treatments
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When you're suffering with spinal stenosis pain, understanding spinal stenosis and what causes the pain, makes it easier for you decide which treatments may be best for you.
"usually caused by a combination of"
Spinal stenosis means A narrowing of the space for the nerves in your spine. This can occur in the cervical or thoracic spines but lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common.
"severe ache deep in the muscle, similar to a toothache"
Spinal stenosis pain begins when the nerves run out of room and they begin to be squeezed. This can cause symptoms of pain and weakness in whatever area that nerve serves. The most common pain from spinal stenosis is sciatica.
Spinal stenosis symptoms in the lumbar spine are usually caused by a combination of arthritis in the facet joints and overgrowth or hypertrophy of the ligaments. The bone spurs of arthritic joints along with the overgrown ligaments take up the space for the nerves. These conditions develop over a lifetime of lifting and bending and may not cause problems for many years.
The sciatic nerve is a large nerve that runs from the posterior pelvis down through the buttock and thigh. It is formed by several nerve roots after they leave the lumbar spine. If any of these nerve roots are being squeezed by spinal stenosis you will have pain and other problems in the areas that that nerve serves.
Sciatica from lumbar spinal stenosis is generally felt as a pain deep in one or both buttocks. The pain may also radiate down into the thigh and lower leg. Some people describe the pain as a severe ache deep in the muscle, similar to a toothache.
"symptoms of cauda equina syndrome"
Along with pain you may also have weakness in your lower extremities and problems with your bowels and bladder. If you're having weakness in your legs or problems holding or controlling your urine or bowel movements is important that you see your doctor immediately.
These are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome and require immediate treatment to prevent permanent injury or impairment.
"avoid more invasive treatments"
If your spinal stenosis pain in mild you may be able to treat it with anti-inflammatories, exercises along with weight loss, and activity modification. Many times these conservative measures can make the pain more tolerable and avoid more invasive treatments.
If your pain is more severe the treatments will vary depending on if the pain is caused by overgrown ligaments or the arthritic joints.
"avoid more invasive treatments"
If your doctor determines that your symptoms are from overgrown ligaments he may order steroid injections to reduce swelling and shrink the ligaments. In some cases these are very effective.
If your doctor thinks that your symptoms are from arthritic joints and bony overgrowth he may recommend spinal stenosis surgery to remove the bone that is pressing on the nerves.
When you're having pain that prevents normal activities it is important to see your doctor. He can examine you and order the appropriate tests. After determining exactly what is causing your symptoms you can begin treatment.
Spinal stenosis treatment is often very effective when the diagnosis is made early and promptly treated. When treatment is delayed good outcomes are less consistent.
Early diagnosis and adequate treatment are the keys to finding a cure for your spinal stenosis pain.