Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It’s a serious and painful condition, and while it can’t be reversed, both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options are available to ease spinal pressure to address your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
Visiting a spine specialist is the first step to getting on the path to recovery. You’re in highly capable hands when you choose the Spine Institute of Southeast Texas. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Thomas Jones II takes great care in easing the symptoms of spinal stenosis so patients can live with less discomfort.
Spinal stenosis tends to develop gradually over time, and it often doesn’t cause symptoms early on. However, once symptoms strike, the pain, tingling, and numbness can interfere with your life. Dr. Jones works closely with patients to determine the most appropriate approach to get you feeling better.
Causes of spinal stenosis
In most cases, spinal stenosis is the result of age-related changes in the spine, such as degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis. In other cases, herniated discs put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
An injury to the spine and spinal tumors can also put pressure on the spinal cord. Additionally, some people are born with a narrow spinal canal which can increase their risk of developing spinal stenosis later in life.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis can vary depending on the location and severity of the narrowing in your spinal canal. If you have spinal stenosis, you may experience pain or numbness in the back, legs, or arms.
This pain may be intermittent or constant and may worsen with activity. Weakness in the legs or arms is another symptom of spinal stenosis. While the condition itself isn’t reversible, effective treatments are available to address your symptoms.
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
The goal of spinal stenosis treatment is to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. The most appropriate treatment approach depends on the underlying issue causing spinal canal narrowing.
Laminectomy is the most common surgical approach to treating spinal stenosis. The procedure involves removing a portion of the vertebral bone called the lamina to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
In the case of a herniated disc, surgery to repair or replace the damaged disc is effective at relieving pressure.
Nonsurgical treatments are also available to help manage the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Physical therapy helps improve flexibility and strength in your back, legs, and arms. Anti-inflammatory medications can also help manage pain. Dr. Jones may recommend injections of corticosteroids in some cases.
In addition to these treatments, lifestyle habits such as maintaining a healthy weight, getting regular exercise, and practicing good posture can reduce the pressure on your spinal cord and nerves.
Preventing spinal stenosis
While some factors that contribute to spinal stenosis, such as age-related changes in the spine, aren’t always preventable, you can take steps now to reduce your risk of developing spinal stenosis later in life, including exercising regularly, minding your posture, losing excess weight, and using proper lifting techniques.
If you're experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, talk to Dr. Jones to determine the best course of treatment for your individual case. Because certain conditions, such as peripheral artery disease, share similar symptoms to spinal stenosis, an accurate diagnosis is key.
To get started, call the Spine Institute of Southeast Texas and a coordinator will assist you in scheduling a visit with Dr. Jones. You can also request an appointment through this website at one of our offices in Pearland and Lake Jackson, Texas.