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What Is Spinal Stenosis?

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Spinal stenosis is a medical condition that occurs when the spinal canal narrows, causing nerve pinching and pain. Depending on which region of the spine narrows, the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar regions, pain can be felt in the neck, low back, buttocks, legs, thighs, or feet. Stenosis can be very painful and does require medical attention. Consult with your physician or chiropractor if you experience the symptoms of stenosis.

What causes spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is most commonly the result of the degeneration that occurs with aging. A normal, healthy spine is made up of spaces and cushions to absorb the shock against the bone. It is through these spaces that nerve impulses and blood flow travel to all parts of the body. When the spaces narrow, stenosis occurs.

The spaces in the spine can narrow as a result of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, injury, herniated discs, degeneration, or genetics. Over time, the ligaments in the back toughen and can cause narrowing and inflexibility in the back. Patients who have recently experienced an accident or trauma may have swelling or a bone break that can lead to spinal stenosis. A tumor or abnormal growth in the spinal tissues will also cause the spaces in the spine to narrow, and patients may begin to experience stenosis symptoms.

Spinal Stenosis Signs

Depending on which region of your spine is affected by spinal stenosis, you may experience symptoms in your legs, lower back, or arms. Compression on the nerves in the spine causes the pain or discomfort in the back and outer limbs, and symptoms typically become much worse with walking or exercise. Patients may experience weakness, numbness, or cramping sensations in their arms or legs. Others symptoms may include bowel, bladder, or sexual dysfunction. Consult with a physician if you experience if you are experiencing any of these signs or symptoms.

Treatment

Patients can choose to see a chiropractor to seek relief from spinal stenosis symptoms. Chiropractors use traction, a pulling force, to adjust the spine and restore normal spinal movement. The philosophy behind this treatment is that when the spine is restricted, it does not function properly, and undue pressure is placed on the bone and surrounding tissue, causing pain. A chiropractic adjustment restores proper function, helps increase space between the vertebrae, and reduces pressure on affected nerves.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of spinal stenosis, seek a consultation from your physician or a chiropractor to determine which treatment is best for you.

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