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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is narrowed, leaving inadequate room for the nerves. The causes of spinal stenosis vary—the condition may be either congenital or due to spinal degeneration.

Diseases such as Paget's disease, a condition of unknown origin that causes abnormal growth and distortion of a number of different bones; and fluoridosis, due to excessive fluoride, which can thicken bones and contribute to stenosis when there is a pre-existing narrowing of the canal. In some cases, scarring and other post-surgical problems, like overgrowth of a spinal fusion, can lead to stenosis.

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Spinal stenosis usually affects the elderly. Spinal stenosis symptoms include substantial back pain with variable leg pain and weakness associated with walking. The pain may become increasingly severe with standing and walking, and can usually be relieved by a short period of rest.

Unlike disc disease and other kinds of back pain with an intermittent course, spinal stenosis symptoms generally become progressively more painful over time. After a complete medical history and physical examination, your physician may suggest radiologic studies, such as X-rays or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

Treatment of Spinal Stenosis 

Treatment of spinal stenosis consists of rest, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications, support from a corset or brace and gradual appropriate exercise. The majority of patients with spinal stenosis can be successfully managed without surgery. If these treatments fail, surgery may be the answer. Using a procedure called decompression, an orthopedic surgeon operates on the spine from the back and frees the nerve roots as they go out through their tunnel from the spinal canal through a smaller canal and into the legs. In some cases, spinal fusion may be necessary.

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