As many as a half million American men and women have spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause neck pain and other symptoms. Spinal stenosis tends to happen more often with age, and knowing how and why it happens is important for making sure you get treatment as soon as possible.
Barbara Adonis, DC, uses a patient-centered, holistic approach to relieve the painful symptoms of spinal stenosis in patients at Easy Reach Chiropractic. If you have chronic or recurring neck pain, here’s what you should know about this relatively common medical problem.
Spinal stenosis 101
Your spinal canal contains nerves that travel from your brain to every other part of your body. These nerves exit your spine at different locations before traveling on to your arms, legs, organs, and other parts of your body.
Spaces between your spine provide places for the nerves to exit. If these spaces start to become narrow, your nerves can get “pinched” as they leave the spine.
Lots of issues can cause spinal stenosis, including trauma, tumors, scoliosis, and other spine conditions. But the most common cause of spinal stenosis is age-related changes in the spine, including arthritis and thickened ligaments. Bone spurs — bony overgrowths that form on the edges of vertebrae — can also contribute to spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis typically affects the two most mobile parts of your spine — your neck and your lower back. That’s why you might hear the condition referred to as cervical spinal stenosis (in your neck) or lumbar spinal stenosis (your lower back).
Spinal stenosis and neck pain
Some people have spinal stenosis and don’t even know it. But as the condition progresses, compression inside the cervical spine typically causes pain in or around your neck. This pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp or electricity-like pain.
Since the nerves in the neck travel to other parts of your body, some people with stenosis have symptoms in their arms, legs, hands, or feet, including:
- Tingling or numbness
- Loss of coordination in your limb
- Weakness, including loss of grip strength
- Balance problems
Severe cases of nerve compression can cause a loss of bladder or bowel control.
Treating cervical spinal stenosis
Dr. Adonis recommends treatment based on your symptoms and the results of diagnostic imaging tests. Many people with cervical spinal stenosis find relief with conservative options, like:
- Medication to relieve pain and inflammation
- Physical therapy
- Laser therapy
- Acoustic shockwave therapy
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Activity modification or lifestyle changes
For more severe symptoms or for symptoms that don’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. Adonis may refer you to a surgeon for spinal decompression, disc replacement, or other surgical treatment.
Relieve your chronic neck pain
With offices in Lake Worth and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dr. Adonis and the team at Easy Reach Chiropractic are ready to help you find long-term, meaningful relief for your neck pain and related symptoms. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone today.