Your spinal cord travels from the brain down to the lumbar area of your vertebral column. The vertebrae in the spine protect these nerves. At different places, the nerves branch off to innervate respective parts of the body. Therefore, when there is a problem in one part of your back, symptoms might be expressed elsewhere, like in your arms or legs. Spinal stenosis affects millions of people over the age of 50 and is nearly a universal issue.
What Is Spinal Stenosis?
The term “stenosis” indicates an abnormal narrowing of a passage in the body. Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the passageway through which the spinal cord travels. There are several reasons why the spinal canal can become narrowed. Three situations in particular are most often the case with older people who have the condition.
Spinal Stenosis and Aging
For many individuals, spinal stenosis can develop over time due to the aging process. When the gel-filled discs between the vertebrae bulge, they can put pressure on the nerves. Ligaments connecting the bones can become thickened with age, and this also can narrow the spinal canal. Wear and tear can cause cartilage between the bones to become thinner until there is none left, and bones rub against each other, causing excessive bone growth in the joints.
Even though the spinal canal may be getting narrower with aging, until the nerves are affected, there may not be any symptoms. Symptoms occur when pressure is put on the nerves. Certain movements or body positions can produce this pressure, causing symptoms.
Cervical spinal stenosis affects one or more of the seven vertebrae in the neck. Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs in the lower back or lumbar area. Many individuals have spinal stenosis and are not aware of it because they are symptom free. Aggravating symptoms of the condition may not manifest until years after the onset. At that time, you may feel localized muscle weakness, numbness or radiating pain in your arms, hands, legs or feet, depending on where the nerves are being squeezed.
Managing the Condition
Spinal stenosis is a chronic condition. With proper treatment, it can be managed in most cases. Non-invasive treatments often provide welcome relief from pain and nerve pressure. At Caliber Pain™, our expert medical staff will determine the best treatment options for you. For compassionate, patient-centered care, call today to schedule your consultation.