First off, what is spinal stenosis? Spinal stenosis is the narrowing or tightening of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is a long tunnel running through the center of the spine, which contains the spinal cord and the nerve roots. When this canal is narrowed, the spinal cord and the nerve roots may be compressed.
Primary vs. acquired stenosis
Doctors categorize the cause of spinal stenosis in two ways, primary and acquired. Primary means a person had it since birth. Some people are born with narrower spinal canals than others. It may not present problems early in life but these people are more prone to acquire back pain later in life. The other category is acquired. This is commonly a result of disease or injury to the spine. Acquired stenosis is more common compared to primary stenosis. The direct cause of acquired stenosis is “wear and tear” on the spine as a result of aging.
What are some symptoms of stenosis?
The symptoms that usually occur due to the compression of the spinal cord and nerves are:
- Neck, shoulder, arm or hand pain
- Weakness in the arms or legs
- Lack of coordination and “clumsiness”
- Imbalance when walking
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
There are non-surgical ways to manage spinal stenosis. These include:
- Alternative treatment such as acupuncture or massage
- Easy exercises and swimming
- Good posture and proper body mechanics
- The use of over-the-counter NSAIDs to reduce pain and inflammation such as aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen
- Chiropractic care
- Physical therapy
- In severe cases, doctors may use as epidural steroid injection
In some situation where the stenosis is not managed by non-surgical treatments, surgical procedure may be opted by the physician. If your doctor recommends back surgery, it’s recommended that you get a second opinion first. Much like any surgery, back surgeries are complicated, and you want to make sure it’s necessary before you go through the procedure.
As a Kentucky Personal Injury Attorney, I know that this onset of pain must be properly documented by your doctor to have a chance of collecting for your injuries. Don’t wait to see a doctor after an accident. If you don’t see a doctor right away, you are putting your accident case at risk. You may not get the compensation you need. Don’t let that happen! See your doctor and tell them what hurts so you can start recovering.