Many conditions, including spinal stenosis, could be the cause of your back pain. At Mountain Spine & Pain Physicians located in Denver, Brian J. Fuller, MD, provides expert diagnosis of the cause of back troubles as well as state-of-the-art treatment to alleviate your pain and heal the condition causing it. Call Mountain Spine & Pain Physicians or make an appointment online today.
Your spine consists of 33 stacked vertebrae that create an enclosed column to protect your spinal cord. Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when that space narrows to a point where your spinal cord is affected.
While you could be born with congenital spinal stenosis, you may also develop the condition later in life. Stenosis is most often found in your cervical (neck) spine and your lumbar (lower) spine.
Spinal stenosis causes pain in your neck or back, as well as numbness, tingling, or weakness in your hands, feet, arms, and legs. You may also have problems with balance or walking, cramping in your legs when you spend a long time on your feet, and in severe cases, bladder or bowel problems.
Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. As the cartilage wears away in your spine, your vertebrae rub together, causing friction and swelling, which leads to the formation of bone spurs. The bone spurs can intrude into the spinal cord space, reducing the available space.
Other causes of spinal stenosis include:
Your risk of spinal stenosis increases as you age, as your chances of developing a condition such as osteoarthritis increases. Additionally, your spinal discs, ligaments, and tendons get drier and more vulnerable to damage with age.
Dr. Fuller provides thorough physical exams and diagnostic imaging studies to diagnose spinal stenosis. During your exam, Dr. Fuller collects your personal and family medical history. He asks about your symptoms, lifestyle, and overall health.
He feels your spine and asks you to walk around the office or move through some gentle stretches to gauge your pain and reduced mobility. Dr. Fuller may also order X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or electrodiagnostic studies (EMG) to collect more information about your spine and look for evidence of stenosis.
Dr. Fuller provides customized treatments to alleviate your pain and address the condition causing the stenosis. For example, in some cases, you may benefit from corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation. Additionally, physical therapy may help you build strength and flexibility in the muscles and tendons in your spine.
In more severe cases, you may need surgery such as a laminectomy, laminotomy, or laminoplasty to create more space in your spinal column.
Call Mountain Spine & Pain Physicians or schedule a consultation online today to find out if spinal stenosis is the cause of your back or neck pain.