Intermittent back pain or pain that comes and goes on its own could indicate spinal stenosis. This refers to the constriction of the spinal canal space that is occupied by the nerves. As one of the most prevalent back conditions, spinal stenosis affects aging people who are beyond fifty years. It tends to worsen as victims age. While spinal stenosis can affect any area of your spine, the lumbar spine area is more prone to it. The condition causes the spinal canal to become narrow and this exerts pressure on both the nerves and the spinal cord. The result is a lot of pain that should be checked by the most reputable back pain specialist New Jersey.
How to know you have spinal stenosis
The spinal area can hurt because of different reasons. One of those reasons can be spinal stenosis and the only way to find out is to get in touch with a back pain doctor New Jersey area. Before you even go to see a doctor, there will be symptoms that will develop over a period of several years. The condition is not discovered right away as it causes pain that disappears on its own. Six symptoms that you might notice include the following:
- Intermittent backache –This is pain that might not prompt you to go see a pain management New Jersey expert because it cures itself. Furthermore, the pain itself can vary in terms of intensity. It can be mild to moderate, severe or completely non-existent– sometimes.
- Sciatica nerve discomfort –Sciatica pain tends to spread from the lower back area to one or both buttocks, back of thighs and/or lower legs. The pain is accompanied by numbness and tingling and can make your legs so weak.
- Pain during various workouts – If you feel pain when walking, standing upright, or riding a bicycle, chances are high that it’s because of spinal stenosis. Seeing a back pain specialist New Jersey will help you discover the true cause. At given times, the pain can erupt abruptly due to a small activity.
- Pain that ends gradually – Backache that will begin so severely and then go away when you take a rest is triggered by spinal stenosis. This sort of pain disappears within a few minutes of rest.
- Pain that is relieved by certain body postures – If you have pain in your back that disappears when you sit down, lie down or move your torso forward, it may be provoked by compressed spinal nerves. Go to a great back pain doctor New Jersey clinic and have them examine your back closely. Chances are that you have spinal stenosis. If making just a slight change provides a lot of pain relief, chances are that you have this spinal condition.
Do the above symptoms sound familiar to you? If yes, check with your back pain specialist New Jersey as spinal stenosis will only get worse overtime.
Understanding spinal stenosis and its effects on your spine
A human spinal column has a big central passage or canal that houses the spinal cord and nerves. There are holes to each side of the canal where spinal nerve roots at each level of the spine emerge and travel to the rest of the body. These are called neuro-foramen. But when spinal stenosis develops, the ample space within the spinal canal starts to reduce. First, stenosis is as a result of body growths triggered by osteoarthritis or another degenerative spinal disease. These bone spurs push the components of the spinal canal (spinal cord and nerves) as they increase in size.
The spinal cord comes to an end right at the beginning of the lumbar spine or the upper part of the lower back (the T12-L1 level). So the nerves extend from the end of the spinal cord individually, pass through the central canal, and leave the spinal cord vain neuro-foramens. Note that the spinal cord and the nerves are naturally well-protected. They descend the canal in a fluid-filled sac and the outer case of the canal (dura mater) is so tough to offer maximum protection.
While the nerves and spinal cord can curve along with your spine, nothing can happen to them as they receive maximum protection. The problem begins when there are bony growths that mark the emergence of spinal stenosis. If this condition develops at the cauda equina(the area where the nerves begins to leave the spinal cord individually), you are likely to develop a condition called cauda equina syndrome. It is considered more serious than spinal stenosis, and one should meet their back pain specialist New Jersey immediately.
Types of spinal stenosis your pain management New Jersey doctor can detect
All kinds of stenosis, regardless of where they develop, are called spinal stenosis. There are usually three categories of this disorder, however. These are:
- Foraminal stenosis – Also called lateral spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis is the most prevalent kind of lumbar spine stenosis. It affects a nerve root that meets a blocked neuro-foramen as it exits the spinal canal. Normally, the neuro-foramen is blocked by a bone spur (also called an osteophyte). It usually grows from an arthritic facet joint or a degenerative disc. So the nerve root that is emerging from the area of the canal that is affected by a bone spur gets trapped or pinched. To know if you have foraminal stenosis, feel free to get in touch with a back pain specialist New Jersey clinic right now. This is the type of stenosis that will easily cause sciatica nerve pain.
- Central stenosis – This happens when the central spinal canal starts to become narrow. This central canal is in the lumbar area, also your lower back area. Central stenosis tends to compress the thecal sac and exerts a lot of pressure on the bundle of nerves at the cauda equina(end of your spinal cord)area. It can also compress the individual nerves in the thecal sac, triggering pain in the lower back. Again, get in touch with a back pain doctor New Jersey State as soon as possible to know if you have central stenosis.
- Far leteral stenosis – After individual nerve roots exit the center of the spinal canal via the neuro-foramen, they can come across secondary spinal narrowing caused by facet joints bone spurs. These spurs can also grow on bulging discs, herniated discs or ligamentum hypertrophy. It is called far lateral stenosis because the area that narrows is to the side of the neuro-formen. The condition can worsen if the nerve roots are pinched at the neuro-foramen (foraminal stenosis) and to the side of the neuro-foramen (far lateral stenosis). In such a situation, your back pain specialist New Jersey hospital might not have a better treatment option that spinal surgery. The operation cannot be carried out until proper imaging studies are performed, however. In such a case, the surgeon will know the exact locations that have nerve compressions and do surgery on them. This sort of spinal stenosis surgery can get complicated, explaining the reason why it should only be done a by a capable back pain doctor New Jersey like Rehan Ali.
When you have lumbar spine stenosis
As you have noticed so far, spinal stenosis tends to affect the lumbar spine area. It takes several years to develop; so, it affects mostly the seniors. After your spinal bones (vertebrae) become arthritic, the intervertebral discs begin to bulge, and/or the ligamentum flavum ligament connecting the vertebrae liminae buckles, stenosis can result. Symptoms might be more severe or less severe than any MRI scan, CT scan or X-ray might illustrate to your back pain doctor New Jersey. When you have lumbar spine stenosis, you will mostly experience leg pain due to a pinched or compressed sciatica nerve.
As well as the pain, there might be tingling, burning and numbness. Leg weakness may result too, if your lower back stenosis is too severe. If no measure is taken as soon as possible, osteoarthritis that affects facet joints can occur. While these symptoms will be intermittent over the years, and worsen during activities that require you bend your back, later on they will become serious. It is rather easy to manage lumbar spine stenosis at home by doing certain exercises, improving posture, following proper nutrition and seeking pain management New Jersey services.
Diagnosing lumbar pain due to spinal stenosis
If you have not been examined by the top back pain doctor New Jersey State has, it’s not wise to continue living with back pain. Seek medical help first to discover if your discomfort is as a result of lumbar spine stenosis. This is if you are experiencing symptoms of sciatica nerve pain like tingling, burning, leg weakness, and pain. Besides, there are other lumbar spine conditions and injuries that may trigger back pain that comes and goes. So getting examined properly will rule out some causes and show the doctor the exact problem. As aforesaid, doctors make use of imaging tests to find out whether there is spinal stenosis.
One thing you should know is that spinal stenosis, no matter its type, has no cure. A back pain specialist New Jersey clinic can however use certain treatments to manage your pain and other symptoms. After their imaging tests show the location of the condition in your spine, they will be able to select a treatment technique that could reduce or end the discomfort felt. First, a great back pain doctor New Jersey will use non-surgical approaches like medicines, injections for pain relief and physical therapy. A combination of techniqueS for pain management can be applied to reduce the inflammation and pain due to lumbar spinal stenosis.
When surgery is done to remove spinal stenosis
The first thing that is imperative prior to doing surgery is a correct diagnosis. Once it is done positively, a good surgical outcome can be expected. After the imaging tests and studies show the areas of your spine with compressed nerves, the back pain doctor New Jersey will address them correctly. Elective spinal stenosis surgery is usually skipped when several areas of your spine have stenosis. A spinal orthopedist must therefore identify areas of abrupt instabilities by giving the patient muscle relaxants. If there is a spine unit that is too mobile, the spinal surgeon will discover it before or during surgery.
While these surprises can arise during surgery, any back pain specialist New Jersey expert using modern, top-quality MRIs and CT scans can pinpoint them in advance. If fluid in facet joints is captured by the imaging studies, or too much facet joints wear and tear, then the back doctor will see a strong probability of spinal instability happening during surgery. And when instabilities are noticed in advance, surgery can be a properly calculated and performed affair.
How to live with spinal stenosis
As there is no complete cure for spinal stenosis, the best your back pain doctor New Jersey hospital can do is to treat you in the best manner possible. Since spinal stenosis pain is irregular, there will be periods when you will not have agonizing pain and other times when the pain will be too severe to tolerate. One thing you can do when in pain is to flex your torso forward as this will open up your narrowing spinal canal. When it opens up, a lot of pressure will be removed from the compressed nerve roots and the pain will lessen.
For someone with lumbar spine stenosis, walking uphill will tend to be less painful because the trunk is flexed forward. When walking downhill, the torso is extended to a point of compressing the spinal canal components and causing pain. As it is impractical to always walk uphill, it will be easier to use pain management New Jersey experts to lessen your backache.
Their medicines, exercises and other spinal manipulation techniques could collectively lessen or end your pain. At home or at your place of work, always maintain a proper posture because poor posture can hurt your back some more. So it will be prudent to learn various ways to improve your postures. This is particularly if you must lift heavy things, sit down for several hours or have a habit of straining your back while sleeping. Even as you try your best to live with your spinal stenosis pain, don’t ignore the help that only a great back pain specialist New Jersey expert like Dr. Rehan Ali can provide. Have your spine checked thoroughly and treated via the most suitable techniques.