What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is when the spinal canal through which the spinal cord and nerves pass through begins to narrow down, thus creating pressure or ‘choking’ the spinal cord and nerves. This might happen either in the spinal canal in the center of the vertebral column or in the foramens through which nerves leave the spine and go to other parts of the body. Most common cause of spinal stenosis in men and women is related to degenerative changes that come along with aging. In the infrequent cases that it might occur in younger people, it is usually because they have suffered an injury or are born with a narrow canal.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Most common symptoms of this disease are that the patients experience numbness in certain areas, muscle weakness, cramping or pain in the limbs and impaired reflexes. More specific symptoms may depend on which part of the spine is affected, the most common being the lumbar(low back) and cervical (neck) region. This usually affects movement of the legs and/or arms, causing pain, tingling and weakness. If the narrowed space is pushing down on the nerve roots, patients are likely to experience shooting pains which are only relieved by sitting or adjusting posture.
Spinal Stenosis Treatment
The primary reason to seek physiotherapy for stenosis is so that you can manage your pain. The therapist may use an array of tools such as ice therapy, electrotherapy, acupuncture, soft tissue massage and temporary back brace to reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also recommend anti-inflammatory drugs to assist the process.