Spinal stenosis, a common cause of back and neck pain, is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, resulting in pain, numbness and weakness. Spinal stenosis can occur in any area of the spine and may be a result of age, arthritis, injury or bone disease. It is most commonly found in adults over 50.
At SSM Health, our back and spine specialists understand how back pain can disrupt your life. If you have back pain that isn’t improving with self-care techniques, like rest and over-the-counter pain relievers, schedule an appointment for an evaluation with one of our back pain team members. Our goal is to help you find relief as quickly and safely as possible, so you can get back to doing the things you love.
Signs & Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
The symptoms of spinal stenosis often progress slowly, over time. The most common symptoms include:
- Pain in the back and neck
- Numbness or weakness in the arms or legs
- Loss of motor control
- A burning, pricking or tingling sensation in the skin
In many cases, the symptoms only occur on one side of the body and may be worse when standing or walking. Be sure to let your SSM Health primary care provider know if you have a difficult time walking, experience poor balance or have problems controlling your bowel or bladder, as these are signs of a more serious problem.
Treating Spinal Stenosis
As with many causes of back pain, spinal stenosis symptoms can often be managed with non-surgical therapies, such as:
- Pain relievers (acetaminophen)
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Weight loss
- Lumbar epidural steroid injections
If your symptoms persist or grow worse despite conservative treatment, your physician may recommend surgery. A lumbar decompressive laminectomy removes the roof of bone over the spinal canal to decompress the nerves. Over 95% of our patients who have undergone this surgery report positive results.
With proper treatment, you can manage your spinal stenosis symptoms and feel better. The SSM Health back and spine team understands that finding relief from your back pain is a priority, so you can get back to your daily activities. Find an SSM Health provider today to get the comprehensive, compassionate care you deserve.