When the space in your spinal canal gets too narrow you have spinal stenosis, and nerve compression and pain can follow. If you have spinal stenosis, the surgeons at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine have extensive experience using non-surgical and surgical methods to relieve the symptoms. The practice has nine locations in Colorado, including Lone Tree, Englewood, Castle Rock, Denver, Wheat Ridge, Colorado Springs, Parker, Yuma, and Lamar. To schedule a consultation, call the office nearest you.
Spinal stenosis is a term that describes a reduction in the space inside your spinal canal. The narrowing process that leads to spinal stenosis could have several causes, most of which relate to the way your spine deteriorates with advancing age.
One of the triggers for spinal stenosis is degenerative disc disease. This condition develops when the discs that provide cushioning and support for your vertebrae start to dry out. As they get drier, the discs become thinner and more rigid, subtly altering the alignment of your spine.
The facet joints in your spine can also develop osteoarthritis as the vertebrae age. Along with causing inflammation that further narrows the spinal canal, facet joint arthritis can lead to the development of bony outgrowths. These bone spurs take up more space and create additional pressure points.
One or all of these problems added to the thickening of spinal ligaments that comes with age results in spinal stenosis.
The primary spinal stenosis symptom is neurogenic claudication. Neurogenic claudication causes pain in your lower back, buttocks, hips, and one or both of your legs. This is caused by pressure on the cauda equina, which is the lower part of your spinal cord.
You might also experience:
These symptoms are often at their worst when you stand and walk, then ease off if you sit down. Leaning forward relieves nerve pressure, which reduces pain and other symptoms.
For many people, non-surgical therapies can significantly reduce the symptoms of spinal stenosis. These treatments include:
If these approaches aren’t having an effect and your spinal stenosis continues to cause considerable pain and disability, spine surgery might be necessary.
The main approach to surgery for spinal stenosis is decompression. This involves your surgeon at CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine performing a laminectomy, in which they remove the entire lamina bone from the vertebra plus any ligaments and bone spurs that interfere with your spinal nerves.
Your surgeon may perform a laminotomy instead, where they only remove a portion of the bone. Following decompression, you might need fusion surgery to stabilize your spine.
Where possible, CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine uses alternatives to fusions, such as interspinous process devices that act as spacers at the back of your spine. These spacers keep your vertebrae apart and provide sufficient room for your nerves.
For expert treatment of your spinal stenosis, call CarePoint Neurosurgery and Spine to book an appointment.