Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside your spinal canal narrows. Because the canal houses the spinal nerves, stenosis is often accompanied by pinched nerves. The condition is sometimes caused by trauma but is more commonly the result of an underlying condition such as bone spurs, a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease. Medically, spinal stenosis is classified according to etiology – whether it is congenital or acquired – or location. Your Roswell spinal stenosis symptoms will usually develop depending on the location of the narrowing. Here is a look at the four possible anatomical regions that can be affected and how to identify them by symptom.
Lower Back (Lumbar Stenosis)
Lumbar stenosis, the most prevalent form of spinal stenosis, affects the lumbar area of the spine. This covers the L1 to L5 vertebrae, more commonly known as the lower back. In most cases, lumbar stenosis is caused by the degeneration of vertebrae, discs, muscles, and ligaments. It can cause leg pain, reduced mobility, and pain when you move or perform everyday actions. The pan, which originates in the lower back, may radiate into your legs and buttocks when you are most active, such as during exercise, dance, walks, or other forms of movement.
Neck (Cervical Stenosis)
Spinal stenosis can occur in the neck. This section is called the cervical spine and covers the C1 to C7 vertebrae. Consequently, this type of spinal stenosis is called cervical spinal stenosis or simply cervical stenosis and is characterized by narrowing and compression in the back of the neck. Cervical stenosis can be caused by degenerative actions from normal wear and tear or, more likely, from traumatic injury. It is often accompanied by myelopathy or neurological problems like loss of limb coordination, numbness, and weakness. You may also experience pain that radiates to the arms and hands.
Side of the Neck and Back (Foraminal Stenosis)
Foraminal stenosis is also often called lateral stenosis because both conditions occur on the side of the spinal cord, or laterally. Foraminal stenosis, in particular, happens in the foramen, which are the spaces in the vertebrae through which the spinal nerves branch off into the right or left and into the body. These nerves are responsible for sensory and motor functions in the torso, legs, and arms. Usually, foraminal stenosis occurs in the lower back of the neck and causes symptoms on one side of the body.
Mid Back (Thoracic Stenosis)
The middle and upper portions of your back are the least likely to develop stenosis. However, when they do, it is called thoracic stenosis. This type of spinal stenosis affects the T1 to T12 vertebrae or the nerves and vertebrae connected to your rib cage. Consequently, the symptoms – pain, numbness, weakness – may feel concentrated around your sides and sometimes affecting your chest.
Don’t Ignore Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Wherever spinal stenosis occurs, it is rarely something to ignore. The narrowing and compression tend to worsen with time, building more pressure in your spinal canal and increasing the severity of your symptoms. Left untreated, this can lead to paralysis of the arms and legs and affect other functions. This is why you should always discuss stenosis symptoms with your doctor. They can evaluate your symptoms and perform a physical exam to determine the location of stenosis. From this information, they can then devise the appropriate treatment to alleviate the problem. Call today to get started.