Serving Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino County, & San Diego
The spinal column is a complex structure of a spinal cord encased in a canal which is a flexible formation composed mainly of bones (vertebrae) with discs between them. A narrowing of the canal places pressure on the spinal cord and causes pain and other symptoms. This disorder is called spinal stenosis. A person can have an abnormally small spinal canal since birth or spinal stenosis can develop with age. Spinal stenosis does not usually cause constant pain, at least not in its early and mild forms. It only becomes a problem when the narrowing of the canal causes the bones to put pressure on the spinal cord or on spinal nerves. Walking or similar exercise can bring on the pain and rest can mitigate it. When spinal stenosis is in the neck area, it is cervical, when in the lower back, it is lumbar. Lumbar stenosis can affect posture, gait, and bladder and bowel function.
Because of the intermittent nature of the pain caused by spinal stenosis and its resemblance to other age-related symptoms, it can be difficult to diagnose. In addition to radiating pain in the lower back and hip area, lumbar spinal stenosis symptoms can include pain or cramping in the legs, numbness, weakness or tingling in the leg or foot and loss of balance. Cervical spinal stenosis can cause pain in the neck and shoulders and other upper body discomforts.
Stenosis of the Spine: Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing spinal stenosis requires several tests. In addition to a detailed medical history the doctor will perform a physical exam to evaluate your leg reflexes, range of motion, and to check your peripheral pulses. Diagnostic tests may include a spinal X-ray, a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or a computerized tomography (CT) scan. These tests can help the specialist rule out other conditions and provide you with an accurate diagnosis.
Spinal stenosis surgery varies depending on the severity of the condition. The specialists at the Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute can accurately diagnose severity and provide you with a treatment plan that enables you to manage this condition with the least amount of invasive care possible.
Contact Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute for diagnosis and effective treatments for spinal stenosis.