What is spinal stenosis?
We often hear this question when we read health forums. Many sources describe this abnormal condition. Simply put, spinal stenosis is a condition caused by narrowing of the spinal canal so that the structures within the canal are to be depressed, including the nerve.
Nerves contained within the spinal canal serves to regulate some internal organs, muscles, and feel sensations in the skin. If the nerve is depressed, results that appear are varies. Skin numbness and pain in the area that experienced spinal stenosis is a common sign. Sometimes, spinal stenosis can cause muscle weakness to paralysis. In fact, this condition can also cause organ failure in the very severe conditions.
There are three types of spinal stenosis based on narrowing site; they are cervical spinal stenosis, Thoracic stenosis, and lumbar stenosis. Cervical stenosis occurred in the neck. Symptoms that can occur on the neck, shoulders, arms, even going to leg. Symptoms also include pain, Numbness, or muscle weakness. In severe circumstances, patients may experience symptoms in her both leg, usually occurs uncoordinated movements and difficulties in walking.
Thoracic stenosis is a rare condition because Thoracic spine have the smallest pressure compared to the pressure on the cervical and lumbar spine. Narrowing of spinal canal most often occurs in the lumbar spine.
Lumbar stenosis affects the lower back region. This condition causes pain in the lower back, even can cause muscle weakness in both legs in a terrible state.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is a disease that usually attacks the patients older than 50 years. In these age groups, five of the 1000 U.S. men exposed to spinal stenosis. Currently, nearly 500,000 Americans suffer from diseases that cause low back pain. A few more years, the number of patients with disease affecting the spine is predicted to increase to 18 Million. Therefore, we need to know the most commonly symptoms experienced by the patient with spinal stenosis so that we can prevent this disease early.
Spinal Stenosis symptoms are not very prominent at the initial period. As the time passes and the problem advances, the symptoms begin to appear.
When the nerves of the body are damaged due to the pressure of the Spinal Stenosis, then your body starts showing problems and symptoms. The symptoms vary and they can be described as below
Pain or cramping in the legs – Spinal Stenosis symptoms may be very dreaded and regular. Pseudo claudication, false claudication, neurogenic intermittent claudication are some of the conditions which arise because of Spinal Stenosis. These conditions bring in cramp and pain of legs. When you walk for some time or when you stand for a long time, then it happens. This happens because of the compressed nerves. As the nerves, get compressed more when you walk or stand, so they tend to pain more. When you sit down, then the pain reduces. Therefore, this will hamper your life by making you unable to live an active life. You will often have to sit and perform your activities.
Radiating back and hip pain – The pain starts at the buttocks or hips. Then it grows and extends to the legs. This is the result of the damaged nerves at the lower portion of the spine. The pain may be severe. It affects one side of your body. This happens more when you sit for prolong time. As the situation advances, you may find numbness, tingling in your leg. This radiating pain is very difficult to bear for most of the people who have Spinal Stenosis. The pain in your buttocks, hips and legs hampers with your activities you need to perform daily. The pain may be intermittent or continuous.
Loss of balance – All your movements are controlled by the nerves and the brain. Nerves carry the signals to the brain, which instruct the organs to move or to act. When the nerves are affected then balance of your body is sure to get affected. When there is too much of pressure on the cervical spinal cord, it may damage the nerves, which control your movement. So you may become very clumsy and senseless. You may not be able to move your body parts and that may hamper your balance. You may fall with slight provocation. See a doctor as soon as possible and if needed go for a surgery.
Loss of bowel or bladder function – Spinal Stenosis also affects the bladder and bowel function. The main cause of such problem is the damage to the nerves. Nerves control all of our activities. Therefore, when nerves are damaged, then your body may not be able to act correctly. So, if nerves leading to your bowel or bladder are affected your bladder and bowel may not listen to your brain commands. In case of any urinary or fecal problems, see the doctor as soon as possible. This problem needs time and doctor’s help. It may be a case of emergency operation.
symptoms occur in arms, shoulders and legs. Pain starts and then clumsiness and problem in balance may occur.
Initially there may not be any symptom at all. Symptoms occur later when the nerve inflammation occurs. Due to increased pressure, nerves swells and then you will find pain in your spinal cord and back.
The symptoms are different for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and for Cervical Spinal Stenosis. In lumbar spinal stenosis, symptoms appear in the legs, buttocks or calves. There may be pain, numbness or weakness. In cervical spinal stenosis,symptoms occur in arms, shoulders and legs. Pain starts and then clumsiness and problem in balance may occur