Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the space inside the spine becomes narrower, resulting in painful nerve compressions that can cause local pain as well as radiating pain and numbness in other parts of the body, most commonly in the arms and legs. Spinal stenosis most commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar stenosis) and the neck (cervical stenosis).
Most commonly, spinal stenosis is caused by age-related changes including:
Other causes of spinal stenosis include trauma, tumors, congenital (present at birth) defects of the spine, and spondylolisthesis, a condition that causes one vertebra to slip forward over another.
Because it can cause the same or similar symptoms as other issues that cause back pain, spinal stenosis requires an expert evaluation of the back and spine to confirm a diagnosis and to guide therapy. Passive and active movements can help pinpoint the source of pain, and a review of the patient's symptoms and medical history is also important. Diagnostic imaging can provide additional important information. In some cases, injections into the spinal joints (facet joint injections) can help identify the source of pain as well as help determine the most appropriate treatment.
The pain and inflammation of stenosis can often be relieved with injections into the affected joint or into the space around the joint, including:
A thorough diagnostic exam will help determine the most appropriate approach to relieve symptoms.
Other treatments include:
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