Understanding Spinal Stenosis and Its Treatments

If you’ve been experiencing neck pain accompanied by tingling or numbness in your upper extremities, you need to seek medical attention from a cervical spine specialist in New Jersey. Though there are a few different potential causes for your symptoms, there’s a good chance that you have spinal stenosis.

This condition is extremely common in those over the age of 60, though only about 1 in 1,000 will actually have symptoms that require attention.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of either the main channel through which your spinal cord travels, known as the central spinal canal, or of the openings through which the smaller nerve roots of your spine extend. Whichever location the narrowing occurs in, the result is pressure on the nerves that causes pain.

Rather than being a result of injury, spinal stenosis generally is either a result of a narros spinal canal from the time of birth or occurs with age. It is particularly present in people who suffer from arthritis, as the condition can lead to bone spurs that narrow the passage.

Though spinal stenosis can occur anywhere along the length of your spine, when it occurs high up in the spine it is known as cervical stenosis, and when there is loss of feeling in the arms it reflects a narrowing of the nerves associated with the upper extremities.  Other symptoms of this type of stenosis include pain and weakness. When the stenosis affects the entire spinal canal symptoms can including walking and balance issues.

Ignoring symptoms and hoping that they will go away is a big mistake – the longer things are allowed to go untreated, the worse the condition will get and more problems can develop. These can include loss of bowel or bladder control.

Rather than allowing a frightening problem to grow into one that impacts your quality of life, it is strongly recommended that you seek a diagnosis from our spine specialist in New Jersey. Our compassionate, experienced physicians will ask you about your medical history and the history of your symptoms, then conduct a comprehensive physical exam to further understand how your condition is impacting you.

You will likely be asked to have imaging studies such as an X-ray or MRI to provide a detailed picture of what is happening inside of your spine, and blood work to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms.

Appropriate treatment for spinal stenosis will depend upon your condition. Our practice will likely recommend a conservative approach to include physical therapy or exercise and pain relief in the form of medication or injections, then can progress to surgery if those protocols don’t provide relief, or if there are concerns about long-term damage from leaving the condition untreated.

That surgery will involve removing the bone or other material that is creating pressure on the nerves and narrowing the spinal canal.  In some cases, spinal fusion or decompression may be recommended if the narrowing is the result of instability or misalignment of the spine.

To set up a time for a consultation, call our office today. We are here to help.

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