Published on August 15th, 2013 | by Tom


Lumbar & Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms, Treatment

Spinal stenosis refers to the abnormal narrowing of the spine canal, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves within the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis may occur in anywhere on the spine, mostly in the neck and the lower back.  It can cause pain, numbness, muscle weakness and even loss of motor control.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

Symptoms may vary a little according to different region of the stenosis:

  1. Stenosis in the neck. When abnormal narrowing occurs to the upper spine, it can cause numbness, weakness or tingling in the leg, foot and arms. If the nerves to the bladder or bowel are pressed, more troubles will follow, for example, difficulty in urination.  I
  2. Stenosis in the lower back.  Stenosis in your lower spine will result in pain or cramping in your legs, especially while you are walking or standing after a long time. And the pain and discomfort will reduce once you sit down or try to bend forward.

Treatment of spinal stenosis

1. Perform regular exercises. Although exercises may not treat spinal stenosis with immediate effectiveness, it will benefit your spine and your overall health in the long-term. Regular exercises play a key role in strengthening the bones and helping the patients to remain active and energetic. In addition, the weight loss after long period of regular exercises will spare extra pressure placed on the spine, which will lower the risk of spinal stenosis.

Lumbar & Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms, Treatment exercises

image @ spinalstenosis

2. Physical Therapy. This is usually an initial step in the treatment of spinal stenosis. In a physical therapy the patient will receive professional instructions on how to strengthen the muscles of the back, how to stretch these muscles and how to improve posture, to better support the spine. Symptoms of spinal stenosis are often improved after a physical therapy.

3. Medication. In order to ease the pain caused by spinal stenosis, the doctor may prescribe –Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), to help you reduce your pain and inflammation. Medicines in this category, such as ibuprofen and naproxen are available without prescription.

  • Muscle relaxants. To calm the muscle spasms associated with spinal stenosis, you may need medications like cyclobenzaprine (Amrix, Flexeril).
  • Antidepressants. Taking tricyclic antidepressants at night is effective in relieving chronic pain.

4.  Epidural Steroid Injections. Compared to oral anti-inflammatory medications which will travel throughout your body before arriving the area of compression, injections of cortisone can be delivered to the location of spinal stenosis directly, thus takes less time to ease the pain and inflammation.

5. Spine Surgery. If all the treatments mentioned above fail to relieve the symptoms, then a spine surgery is needed. A spine surgery can decompress the nerves by removing excess bone, ligament or soft-tissue to give more room for the nerves.

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