Treatment for Spinal Stenosis in Cincinnati
At Beacon Orthopaedics, our spine experts are dedicated to providing the most conservative treatment that effectively alleviates patient’s pain and symptoms. Spinal stenosis is often a result of arthritis and wear and tear to the spine, and can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and other problems. Our specialists offer a range of treatments to alleviate symptoms of spinal stenosis so our patients can get back to enjoying the activities they love.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Over time, normal wear and tear causes changes to the spine, causing specific areas of the spine to become more narrow. This is called spinal stenosis, and may consist of narrowing of the space at the center of the spine, narrowing of the canals that connect nerves to the spine, or narrowing of the space between the vertebrae. Spinal stenosis causes increased pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerve roots, which can lead to numbness, pain, or leg weakness.1
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
Some people are born with congenital spinal stenosis, which usually becomes symptomatic between the ages of 30 and 50. Far more commonly, though, the cause of spinal stenosis is arthritis, or the degeneration of spinal discs. When spinal discs degenerate they lose water content, which causes them to weaken, herniate, or settle. This transfers the weight on the spine to the facet joints and causes the tunnels around the spinal nerves to become more narrow. Ligaments around the joints in the spine also grow larger in response to spinal arthritis, which further decreases the space for nerves. In some cases, the spine responds to arthritis by forming bone spurs, which can impinge on the spinal canal and also cause narrowing, or spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis may also be the result of injuries to the spine.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is most frequently seen in the cervical (neck) area of the spine and the lumbar area (lower back), though it can occur in the mid-back (thoracic spinal stenosis). Each form of spinal stenosis may cause different symptoms, such as:2
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Difficulty with walking, balance, and fine motor skills
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction
- A sensation of heaviness in the legs
- Shooting pain in the arm or leg
- Leg pain
- Pain in the ribs
- Pain that radiates to the back of the legs
- Tingling or numbness in the feet or legs
Non-Surgical Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
At Beacon Orthopaedics, your spine specialist will recommend conservative measures as the first line of treatment for spinal stenosis. This may include:
- NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain
- Hot or cold compresses
- Physical therapy
- Epidural injections
Surgical Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
When conservative care does not alleviate a patient’s spinal stenosis pain and symptoms, or if his or her quality of life is hindered by this condition, surgery is the next line of treatment. Depending on the area of spinal stenosis, surgery may consist of:
- Laminectomy: This procedure involves compressing the spinal sac and nerve roots, and is often referred to as a “decompression.”
- Spinal Fusion: In cases where arthritis has threatened the stability of the spine, fusion may also be performed.
Contact Beacon Orthopaedics
The fellowship-trained spine specialists at Beacon Orthopaedics understand the pain and other symptoms that can accompany spinal stenosis, and are dedicated to helping our patients achieve relief. If you are suffering from back or neck pain, we will conduct a comprehensive examination to diagnose the source of your pain and recommend the most effective treatment. To schedule a consultation with a spinal stenosis expert, please contact us.
1 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. Available: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/lumbar-spinal-stenosis/. Accessed August 9, 2021.
2 Mayo Clinic. Spinal Stenosis. Available: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-stenosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20352961. Accessed August 9, 2021.