Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces between the disc in the spine, which causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. majority of the spinal stenosis occur in the low back or the lumbar spine, causing pain in the back of the leg and down to the calf and foot.
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There are several cause of spinal stenosis, including:
- Tumors of the spine
- Trauma or injury
- Instability of spondylolisthesis
Spinal stenosis may result in low back pain, radiating to the back of the legs and calves. Stenosis may pinch the nerves that control muscle and sensation in the legs. Additional symptoms may include:
- Frequent falling or stumbling
- Pain and difficulty walking
- Numbness or tingling sensation
- Hot or cold feelings in the legs
Spinal stenosis can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can be caused by other conditions. Most patients who develop spinal stenosis have no history of back problems or injury. Unusual leg symptoms provide clue spinal stenosis.
If simple treatments, such as postural changes or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, do not relieve the problem, special imaging studies may be needed to determine the cause of the problem.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – MRI shows the soft tissues of the body and gives clearer picture of the discs, nerves and soft tissues in the lower back.
- Computerized Tomography (CT Scan)with Myelogram- Combined CT scan and myleography produces image that clearly show both the bone structures of the spine and the nerve structures
At ONE® Brain & Spine Center®, it is recommended that a course of non-surgical treatment should be conducted first. Initial treatment may include pain and anti-inflammatory medications such as corticosteroids or non-steroidal pain medication like ibuprofen and physical therapy. Steroids may be prescribed either orally or injected epidurally (into the space above the dura, which is the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord). If the pain is accompanied by spasm, you may be prescribed with muscle relaxants. If non-surgical treatment does not alleviate the pain, minimally invasive decompressive surgery may be recommended.
- Pain and anti-inflammatory medications
- Epidural steroid injection
- Physical therapy
Minimally Invasive Surgical Treatments
- Lateral Lumbar Spinal Fusion- Lateral lumbar spinal fusion is generally performed to treat pain incurred from damaged discs, degenerative disc disease, scoliosis and other deformities, spondylolisthesis, and spinal stenosis. Read more about Lateral Lumbar Spinal Fusion.
- Anterior Lumbar Interbody Fusion (ALIF)- Spinal fusion is a procedure that “welds” two vertebrae of the spine together to create one solid bone and relieve chronic pain. The anterior approach for the lumbar fusion is through the front of the body– the abdomen– and is considered to be far more ideal than the traditional posterior approach, or through the back. Read more about ALIF.