Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the space around the spinal cord narrows, exerting pressure on the surrounding nerve roots. The condition is mainly caused by osteoarthritis when bones rub against each other. Other causes of this condition include abnormal growths, thickened ligaments, and herniated disks. People diagnosed with this condition experience weakness in the legs, numbness, and back pain. If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult a Georgetown spinal stenosis specialist for treatment. Below are the common forms of treatment:
The doctor may prescribe several medications to alleviate pain and inflammation. The common types include:
- Pain relievers: Pain-relieving medications include ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. These medications help reduce pain for a short time and rarely have long term benefits.
- Antidepressants: The doctor may also prescribe tricyclic antidepressants to ease the discomfort of chronic pain.
- Opioids: Opioids are drugs containing codeine drugs such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. They are used for both short term and long term pain relief. However, they have a side effect of addiction.
- Anti-seizure drugs: These forms of medications are used to reduce pain from damaged nerves.
Injecting steroid medications into the affected nerves helps alleviate pain and inflammation caused when nerve roots become swollen at the pinching points. Doctors do not prefer using steroid injections repetitively as they weaken connective tissues and bones.
This procedure works to create space for the nerve in the spinal cord and eliminate nerve root impingement. Doctors use needle-like instruments to achieve this purpose. The procedure does not require general anesthesia and is suitable for people with preexisting medical conditions that may not support surgical methods.
Spinal exercises are not a cure for the condition but are essential in the treatment process. Patients with spinal stenosis must remain active as the condition becomes worse with inactivity. Additionally, therapy increases flexibility, muscle strength and improves balance. Muscle weakness results in more pain.
Surgery is usually the last option when all other treatment options fail to work on your pain. Surgical procedures relieve pain by reducing pressure on the spinal cord and creating more space for the nerves. You should seek help from a qualified physician to reduce the risks of complications. Common surgical procedures include:
- Laminoplasty: This surgical procedure is performed on the cervical spine to open up the spinal canal and create more space.
- Laminotomy: The doctor removes lamina portions to relieve the pressure exerted on the spinal nerve.
- Laminectomy: The doctor removes the lamina and links the vertebrae with a bone graft and metal to preserve its strength. The procedure is sometimes referred to as decompression surgery.
- Minimally invasive surgery: This procedure prevents further damage to healthy tissues by removing the bone very carefully. It also avoids fusions, thereby reducing risks associated with post-surgery.
While some people may find the tingling sensations to be bearable, severe conditions could cause difficulties in walking, loss of bowel functions, back pain, and sexual dysfunction. Therefore, you should seek treatment early enough to correct the condition and restore function. Book an appointment with Republic Spine & Pain for a full exam and treatment.