Spinal stenosis causes pain in the back and neck and is a common reason people seek chiropractic care. Here at Joint Effort Chiropractic in White Plains, New York, our team of expert chiropractors, Jonathan Donath, DC, and Vinh Tran, DC, CCSP, are trained to help relieve pain from spinal stenosis so you can go back to living a pain-free life. Call our office or use our online scheduling tool to find out more.
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces within your spine, most commonly occurring in the low back and neck. The narrow spaces put pressure on the nerves that travel within the spine, causing pain, tingling, and numbness. Spinal stenosis is commonly caused by the wear-and-tear seen in osteoarthritis.
The two types of spinal stenosis are:
- Lumbar stenosis — the most common form, happens when narrowing occurs in the lumbar vertebrae
- Cervical stenosis — occurs when narrowing occurs in the cervical vertebrae
What are symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Some people have no symptoms of spinal stenosis except for evidence that shows on an MRI or CT scan. When symptoms begin, they tend to start gradually and get worse over time. Some symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Numbness or tingling in the hand, arm, leg, or foot
- Weakness in the hand, arm, leg, or foot
- Neck or back pain
- Trouble with walking and balance
- Pain or cramping in the legs when walking or standing for long periods
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction (severe cases)
Most people who develop spinal stenosis are over age 50. Spinal stenosis in younger people is sometimes caused by trauma, congenital spinal abnormalities, and genetic diseases affecting the bones and muscles.
How is spinal stenosis treated?
Treatment for spinal stenosis depends on the location and severity of symptoms. If symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend at-home treatments. In severe cases, surgery is sometimes needed.
Your doctor may prescribe pain relievers, such as Motrin® or Tylenol®, to help relieve pain from spinal stenosis. Antidepressants and anti-seizure drugs also help with chronic pain from spinal stenosis. In cases of severe pain, opioids may be used short-term.
It’s common for people with spinal stenosis to become less active because of pain. A physical therapist can teach you exercises to help build strength, improve your balance, and maintain flexibility in your spine.
Non-surgical Spinal decompression
Non-surgical spinal decompression helps stretch the spine and take pressure off the spinal discs. This is done through a computer-operated machine that extends and relaxes the spine. Our chiropractors at Joint Effort Chiropractic are trained in performing Non-surgical spinal decompression.
Surgery may be considered if other noninvasive treatment methods haven’t helped. Surgery is typically done to create more space for the nerves; thereby, the pressure is eased off the nerves. Sometimes, metal hardware is inserted to maintain the spine’s strength.