Spinal stenosis is a health condition characterized by a narrowing of the openings in your spine, which puts pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves that run along the spine. Spinal stenosis mostly affects the back, only occasionally occurring in the neck. The compression caused by the condition causes the most common symptom associated with the disease, pains in your back and legs.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Aging is one of the major contributors to the occurrence of spinal stenosis. As you grow older, your system continuously undergoes changes that lead to deterioration of certain parts of your body. Wear and tear due to aging may cause the connective tissues in your bones and joints to thicken. Small growths called spurs may begin to appear in the spinal canal and the bones, alongside deterioration of the intervertebral discs and break down of the facet joints. All of these degenerative changes, as well as any of them individually, can narrow the spaces in your spine, causing pains associated with spinal stenosis. Of course, this does not mean that every person will suffer from the condition.
If your parents suffered from narrowing of the spine canal, the possibility is that they have passed the condition to their offspring, and you have small spinal canal as well. Even if they have not shown any signs of the condition, since some people are asymptomatic, there are chances you will experience pain in your lower back and legs.
Two types of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, are associated with narrowing of the spinal canal and are capable of causing spinal stenosis and its symptoms.
Some serious accidents and injuries may cause bone fragments to penetrate into the spine, thereby blocking the canal, leaving the spinal cord subjected to great pressure.
Tumors of the Spine
When abnormal growths are showing up in the spine canal, there is every reason to expect effects of the narrowing the spinal cord.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
It is generally difficult to suspect spinal stenosis from the onset because there are several other health problems that cause similar symptoms. However, it is not uncommon for spinal stenosis patients to experience any combination of:
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the legs
- Frequent falls
- Pain during walking
- Difficulty walking
- Cold or hot sensations in your legs
- Tingling and numbness in the legs
- Weakness in the muscles
- Bowel or bladder malfunctions
You May Need a Chiropractor
At the initial stage, changes in posture and pain relief medication might be enough to deal with the condition. However, especially if there is unusual pain in the lower part of your back or in your legs, visiting a chiropractor may be your best option. Since spinal stenosis is difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are not exclusive to this health condition, a professional will be able to help in the early detection and treatment.
If you are experiencing pain in the lower part of your back or your legs, or suffer from other unexplained symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will work with you to relieve your back pain.