• Dr. Mark Freund

Spinal Stenosis: What Is It and How Does It Affect The Body?

Updated: Dec 31, 2020



Before you consider how a chiropractor can help you with spinal stenosis, it is important to understand what it is and how it goes hand in hand with chiropractic care.


Chiropractic approaches spinal stenosis in a more holistic way, i.e. it takes into account how your body feels, what improves or worsens your symptoms, and what you feel comfortable with. The difference between chiropractic adaptation and physical therapy is that the chiropractor focuses on adapting and mobilizing the joints, limbs and spine, the two key areas where symptoms of spinal stenosis can manifest.


Patients with spinal stenosis can experience relief of symptoms by correcting the displacement of the intervertebral disc, relieving the tension in muscles, and removing pressure from the spinal nerves. Adjustments and decompression of the spine can help in the removal of herniated discs that can contribute to spinal stenosis.


Disc degeneration can be the cause of chronic back pain, especially if the degenerations are irritating. The nerve roots of the spinal cord can be compressed and pinched, causing pain in the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, feet, and other parts of the body.


What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs when a disease or injury causes the spine to narrow, putting pressure on the branched nerves in the compressed area, causing pain. When an aging person develops spinal stenosis or if it is a congenital disease that causes narrowing of the spinal canal, this condition significantly limits the ability of the person to engage in physical activity and perform daily tasks painlessly. Many things can cause chronic pain, such as lack of mobility, inability to sit, stand, walk, or even sit painlessly, as well as other physical problems


Spinal stenosis can affect any part of the body, such as the neck, lower back, spine, hip, and legs. The two most common forms are cervical spine stenosis, which affects the neck, and lumbar spine stenosis, which affects the lower back. In spinal stenosis, the space between the spinal cord and spinal nerves is narrowed and can compress its nerve roots, injuring, irritating, or damaging them through compression.

If you already have spinal injuries or operations on the spine, your risk of spinal stenosis may increase. Those who have had spinal trauma or an earlier accident are more likely to develop lumbar spine stenosis than other people. Other diseases of the spine such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other chronic diseases can put you at risk of developing a thrombosis of the spine. It can also lead to other health problems such as osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, spinal muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injury. One of the congenital spinal malformations that can put a person at risk of spinal stenosis is scoliosis or an abnormally shaped spine. About one in 10 to 20 percent of people in the U.S. are born with spinal deformities such as scoliosis and develop lumbar spine stenosis later in life than other people.


Types of Spinal Stenosis

There are generally two main types of spinal stenosis, which differ in where they are located on the spine and refer to where the narrowing in the spine occurs. Lumbar stenosis is the most common due to its proximity to the cervical spine, and stenosis of the cervical spine is more dangerous because it involves severe compression of the spinal cord. Other types of spinal stenosis are mainly divided by the affected region of the spine, such as lumbar spine, thorax, spina bifida, spinal muscular dystrophy, and spinal cord injury. The most common form of spinal stenosis is in the lower back and is most common in people with spinal muscular dystrophy, spina bifida, and spinal cord injuries. When a narrowing occurs in a cervical and back area, cervixes can cause pain, and pain in other parts of your body.


Spinal stenosis can develop with age, but cervical stenosis is most common in people over 50 and can occur as a result of age. This explains why it is more common in older people than in younger people and why so much research is being done on the subject.


Causes

The most common cause of spinal stenosis is gradual wear and tear, which also occurs in the joints over time. This includes the fact that it is a degenerative disease, which means that it gets worse over time, however, other spinal diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer can also put you at risk of developing stenosis of the spine.

Neurological examinations that demonstrate the presence of compression of the spinal nerves in the cervical spine and the spinal nerve roots may provide evidence that spinal stenosis is caused by a nerve in the spinal nerves - root compressions.


Symptoms

Symptoms of cervical stenosis primarily affect the upper body, but if you have a spinal cord injury, such as a herniated disc, you may also have weakness, numbness, or pain in the lower body, depending on which nerve is affected. Spinal stenosis in the neck and chest area can contribute to loss of mobility after spinal trauma and spinal cord injury. It can also cause pain, numbness, nausea, vomiting, dizziness or other pain symptoms. If you have pain or weakness in the neck, back, shoulders, hips, legs, arms and/or feet, then you are likely to have a stenosis of the spine, just like those who have other types of spinal diseases, such as osteoarthritis, spinal muscular dystrophy, arthritis, osteoporosis, and spinal meningitis. As the spinal canal narrows and develops, it can become more sensitive to the causes of spinal stenosis, which can cause pain, numbness, or pain in the lower body, as well as overall body weakness.


Although spinal stenosis sometimes causes no symptoms, the additional movement of the bones in the spine can lead to stenosis or myelopathy. Note that tissue swelling can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots, leading to back and neck pain. Chiropractic manipulations can help with pain, but manipulations of the spine (osteoporosis, herniated discs, etc.) can make it worse. The severity of the pain varies depending on the position and intensity of the spinal pressure and the type of manipulation.


When you learn about spinal stenosis, it is helpful to have a good understanding of how it develops and what symptoms it has. To make a diagnosis, a doctor or rheumatologist will ask a person about their symptoms and medical history. Treatment of spinal stenosis depends on the location of the stenosis, the severity of symptoms, and the type of treatment. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may wait until you have symptoms for at least two weeks before considering treatment to reduce pressure on nerves in the spinal cord.


Spinal Stenosis In The Cervical Spine

Cervical stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck and the spinal canal can compress the nerve roots where the left and right sides of the spine meet and compress the right side. In cervical spine stenosis, the cervical spine can be compressed and squeezed, with the nerve roots leaving their spinal cords. It can narrow in the spinal column, which can lead to spinal canals in the spinal vein system (spinal artery), which can then compress nerves and roots, causing pain and weakness.


If cervical spine stenosis is suspected, your doctor may recommend imaging of the neck and back to confirm the diagnosis and see what causes the narrowing of the spinal cord. To understand it best, it is helpful to know how wear affects each part of the spine. If a single outgoing nerve can be affected, the diagnosis can be confirmed with an MRI or CT scan


Spinal Stenosis In the Lumbar Spine

One of the most common causes of spinal cord injury is stenosis in the lumbar spine. It occurs when the bony tunnel in the spinal column, which transfers the nerves of the spinal cord to the root, becomes narrowed. This narrowing of our spine can compress the nerves that come out of the spine and cause a loss of mobility by putting pressure on the initial nerves, known as spinal stenosis, which then cause paralysis.


Lumbar spine stenosis can affect the mobility of the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, feet, and other parts of the body, which can lead to incontinence. It can affect one or more anatomical compartments, including the spinal cord, thorax, and upper part of the spine, as well as the lower part. This can be caused by herniated discs pressing against the nerve roots or by injuries that cause the nerves to become trapped. Diffuse discs, herniated discs and other forms of degenerative spinal diseases can all contribute to the stenosis of the spine. Development of the Lumbar spine stenosis can lead to a number of other diseases, such as spinal muscular atrophy and spinal cord injuries and these can be linked to spinal meningitis and spina bifida.

If you suffer from lumbar stenosis, you may need to lean forward to relieve pressure on your lower back and may have difficulty walking. Excessive weight can also lead to nerve irritation and compression, which can lead to chronic pain that can radiate to the buttocks and legs. Being overweight puts more strain on the back and can contribute to symptoms of lumbar spine stenosis especially when the degenerations cause chronic back pain. The excess weight puts more pressure on the lower back, neck, shoulders, hips, legs, feet, and other parts of the body.


Although the lumbar spine can be a common cause of back pain, the good news is that conservative chiropractic care can cure most intervertebral disc problems. Most patients with low back pain associated with spinal stenosis will never need more treatment than their actual treatment.


When To See a Chiropractor

Chiropractors are well trained in techniques that help to alleviate the symptoms of spinal stenosis. Visiting a chiropractor can be the first step in effectively treating back pain. They carefully assess your condition to obtain the best possible treatment options for back pain and spinal stenosis. After the examination, they can diagnose your illness and develop a treatment plan to reduce your back pain and other symptoms of spinal stenosis.

Depending on your condition, non-invasive treatments available to you include manual therapy, acupuncture, physical therapy, or spinal manipulation. Physical therapy involves strengthening and is a great complementary treatment for back pain and back stenosis. It also makes perfect sense for chiropractic care: physical therapy is a great way to strengthen muscles, joints, and the spinal cord, but the primary focus of chiropractic treatment is on the human spinal cords, as humans are much more susceptible to back and neck pain than other animals. Chiropractors also use decompression techniques of the spine to gently stretch the spine to take the pressure off the intervertebral discs, thereby strengthening the muscles, and improving posture.


If you have read this far, we hope you now have a good understanding of back pain and spinal stenosis symptoms. You’ll be more confident in taking the necessary next steps to treat your condition and seek the help of a chiropractor, a service that naturally relieves pain-free symptoms. Your chiropractor will examine your records and medical history against your current issues and will recommend the appropriate treatment that can help you. After the examination, he will diagnose your illness and develop a plan to reduce your back pain and other symptoms of spinal stenosis. If you have severe symptoms, your doctor may wait until you have symptoms for at least two weeks before considering treatment to reduce pressure on nerves in the spinal cord. By addressing the hidden and contributing factors in your spine, such as the strain on the intervertebral disc, it will help you prevent future episodes. To learn more on spinal stenosis and prevention, contact Natural Care Chiropractic today or visit our website to schedule an appointment.


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