Up to 11% of Americans have spinal stenosis today. While some people don’t experience symptoms, others endure serious back pain, neck pain, and various issues due to spinal stenosis. North Point Orthopaedics is here to help spinal stenosis sufferers in their three offices in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, offering advanced diagnostic services along with a wide range of nonsurgical and surgical treatment options. Call the office nearest to you or book your consultation using the online scheduling link now.

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What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal (the space containing your nerves and spinal cord). This condition occurs because of wear-and-tear in your spine over the years, so it’s most common in people over the age of 60. Lumbar spinal stenosis, by far the most common type, affects the lower back. Less commonly, spinal stenosis can occur in the upper back and neck area (cervical stenosis) or the middle back (thoracic stenosis).

What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?

As the space in your spinal canal shrinks, the pressure on your sensitive spinal cord and nerves increases, which can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Back pain or neck pain
  • Sciatica: Radiating pain that shoots from the lower back down to a leg
  • Numbness in your buttock or leg
  • Tingling in your buttock or leg

In the most severe cases of spinal stenosis, you may experience acute cauda equina syndrome, which features genital numbness, loss of bladder or bowel control, and extreme weakness. These symptoms require immediate medical attention.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

Your North Point Orthopaedics provider reviews your symptoms and examines your back to diagnose spinal stenosis. They typically have you move in certain ways, like leaning forward or backward, to determine how and when your symptoms intensify and lessen. Many people with spinal stenosis have less pain when bending forward. You may need imaging tests like X-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan to check for problems like disc degeneration, bone spurs, joint instability, and nerve compression. Your provider can use the information from these tests to plot a treatment course that gives you lasting pain relief.

How is spinal stenosis treated?

North Point Orthopaedics offers both nonsurgical and surgical spinal stenosis treatment. Your specific treatment plan depends on how severe your symptoms are and your personal preferences. Many people with spinal stenosis are looking for a long-term solution. While steroid injections can relieve pain for up to a few months, you can only have them a few times per year because they may increase your risk of osteoporosis if used too often. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and stem cell injections are precision medicine treatments that can help your body to regrow worn-down or damaged tissue, so they may help with spinal stenosis. If your quality of life is suffering and more conservative care isn’t successful, your provider may recommend minimally invasive spine surgery like a laminectomy, also called a spinal decompression, or a spinal fusion. Both procedures can correct the cause of your pain to give you long-term relief. To get help for spinal stenosis, call North Point Orthopaedics or click on the online scheduling link now.