Spinal Stenosis is a condition that occurs when there is a narrowing of either the central spinal canal where the spinal cord lies or the lateral canal(s) where the neural extensions of the spinal cord, the spinal nerve roots, exit.
Central Canal Stenosis can be congenital (present at birth) or acquired. Acquired central stenosis is the result of disc bulging, protrusion or herniations, distortion of the normal size of the canals due to disc degeneration and/or osteoarthritic changes at the central borders of the canals. It is essential to determine if your stenosis is Primary ( congenital) or Secondary ( acquired).
Lateral Canal Stenosis or Foraminal Stenosis is rarely congenital. Disc material can bulge into the foramen compromising the space for the exiting nerve root. Subluxations (vertebral misalignment) can modify the size and shape of the canal due to vertebral shifting. Osteoarthritic deposits at the site can also infringe upon the lateral borders of the nerve canal.
Any of these factors alone can cause nerve root or cord compression resulting in pain and extremity weakness. Symptoms significantly increase when factors are combined. Acquired spinal stenosis is preventable and treatable.
Non-surgical treatment is directed at the removal of as many of the causative factors as possible and re-establishing a normal curve and balance in the lumbar, thoracic or cervical spine. Chiropractic spinal decompression, coupled with rehabilitative exercise and traction are sucessfully used to reach this goal. This is achieved through closed reduction of any disc herniation, removal of subluxations , and spinal curve correction.
Surgical treatments include medication, epidural steroid injections, laminectomy (removal of a portion of the spine and disc), and spinal fusion.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, do not delay in calling the office for a consultation, second opinion evaluation and/or to review alternative treatment options.