Spinal Stenosis

We offer surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for this painful condition.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal -- the space in the spine that contains the spinal cord. This can put pressure on the spinal cord and the spinal nerves.

Our spine doctors have the experience and treatment options you need to live an active, healthy life without the pain of spinal stenosis.

What causes spinal stenosis?

Many conditions can cause stenosis of the spine, such as:

  • Congenital disorders (problems that have been present since birth)
  • Fluorosis, caused by excessive exposure to fluoride, which can thicken bones and contribute to a pre-existing narrowing of the spinal canal
  • Paget’s disease, which causes abnormal bone growth and distortion
  • Scarring and other problems after a spine surgery
  • Spinal degeneration

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

Elderly people are most at risk for spinal stenosis. Symptoms of the disease include:

  • Back pain
  • Pain that increases with walking or standing
  • Variable leg pain
  • Weakness when walking

The pain from spinal stenosis tends to worsen over time without treatment.

Treatment for spinal stenosis

After a complete medical history and physical exam, your doctor may order X-rays or a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam to aid in the diagnostic process.

Nonsurgical treatment for spinal stenosis usually includes:

  • Rest
  • Painkillers
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Support from a corset or brace
  • Gradual appropriate exercise

Most patients with spinal stenosis don’t need surgery. However, if nonsurgical treatments aren’t enough, you may need surgery to correct the problem. Our spine surgeons use a technique called decompression to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve roots as they leave the spinal canal near the legs. Some patients may need spinal fusion (a surgery to permanently join two spinal bones together for added stability) to correct their spinal stenosis.

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