The sensation of pain is processed from signals which are transmitted to the brain by nerves that pass through the spine and radiate out into the body. The spine contains vertebrae that form the spinal column which support the head and back, and which also forms the spinal canal as protection for the spinal cord. The vertebrae also act as protection for the spinal nerves.
Spinal stenosis refers to a constriction of the spinal canal that puts pressure on spinal nerves. When the nerves are under pressure, the can become pinched or damaged causing a sensation of pain in the areas of the body that they serve.
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is normal wear and tear often related to aging. Bone outgrowths, known as bone spurs, form as part of the aging process and can extend into the spinal canal resulting in pinched nerves. In a similar manner, a spinal disc may rupture and a portion of the spinal disc will protrude — this is called a herniated disc. This protruding spinal disc may pinch the nerves of the spine resulting in spinal stenosis. A herniated disc can be the result of aging or trauma caused by a fall or some type of accident.
Other common causes include: tumor growth on the spine, an inherited small spinal canal, bone disorders, scoliosis and spondylolisthesis.
In an issue of Spine dated April 20, 2013, a study was published that found a variety of factors (including heavy manual labor, higher body fat percentage, the presence of diabetes and multiple pregnancies) which are significantly more pronounced in people with lumbar spinal stenosis. The study implies that these factors could be associated with the development of spinal stenosis.
Discomfort from spinal stenosis typically begins gradually and worsens with time. Spinal stenosis is mostly commonly felt in the back, legs or arms. Spinal stenosis of the neck can lead to shooting neck pains as well as pain, numbness or muscle weakness in the arms and fingers. Stenosis in the lower back can result in low back pain or sciatic pain in the buttocks, legs or feet.
Recurring or persistent discomfort in your legs, back or arms may require early treatment. Request an Appointment with one of our doctors to discuss our wide range of options for spinal stenosis treatment.
We Offer Spinal Stenosis Pain Treatment in Austin, Round Rock, Waco & Cedar Park