Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spaces in the spine, which can lead to pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by changes in the spine as we age. Most patients who are diagnosed with spinal stenosis are over the age of 50, though this condition can develop at any time.
A range of symptoms
Diagnosis of spinal stenosis can be difficult because patients who have it can have different symptoms. Though some patients with spinal stenosis do not exhibit symptoms, other patients may experience pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. A patient could show evidence of spinal stenosis on an MRI or CT scan without ever displaying any symptoms.
Patients who do have symptoms often find they worsen over time. Depending on the location of the stenosis, patients may display a wide range of symptoms which can include:
Stenosis of the neck
- Neck pain
- Weakness in limbs
- Balance issues when walking
Stenosis of the back
- Back pain
- Tingling, weakness or numbness in lower extremities
- Painful cramping in one or both legs when standing for a long time or when you walk
- In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis treatment options will depend on where it is in the spine and how severe it is. For mild cases, your doctor may decide to monitor the condition with regular follow-up visits. Surgery may be recommended if other treatments have not helped, or if you are disabled due to symptoms. The goals of surgery include relieving pressure on the spinal cord by creating more space.
Physical therapy is one of the most commonly used treatment options for spinal stenosis. Patients with spinal stenosis often become less active to cope with their pain. Reducing the symptoms by staying active can help patients avoid the need for surgery and improve their overall quality of life.
Armor Physical Therapy offers spinal stenosis treatment
If you live in or near the Holland area of Michigan, and you are ready to take the next step in finding relief from your spinal stenosis, contact Armor Physical Therapy today to schedule your consultation.