Spinal Canal Stenosis: What does it mean and how to deal with it?

The word “Stenosis” means a narrowing or constriction of the diameter of a bodily passage/canal/tubular structure. “Spinal stenosis” refers to narrowing of the spinal canal inside the spine, leading to constriction of the spinal cord and nerve roots passing through the spine. It usually occurs in the middle and old age. Main reason for stenosis is age related degeneration of the structures in the spine that gradually encroach into the spinal canal and start compressing the spinal cord or the nerve roots.

Reduced space for the spinal cord or nerve roots affects their function and can lead to pain/numbness/weakness in the limbs and trunk. When severe, it can affect the standing or walking balance, urine control and bowel control.

Symptoms depend on the region of the spine involved and the severity and duration of the narrowing. Initial symptoms are mild and usually there is a gradual worsening of symptoms over several months or years, leading to significant limitation of daily activities and lifestyle. If the stenosis is in the lumbar spine, it affects the lower limbs. If it is in the cervical spine, all four limbs and trunk as well can get affected. Dorsal spine stenosis is less common but often very disabling. Examination by a spine specialist will help in diagnosing the condition. Usually and MRI and X rays are done to see the severity and level of stenosis.

Those with mild to moderate stenosis in lumbar spine are managed with medication, physiotherapy and exercises. Limitation of certain activities may also be advised.

Severe stenosis causing significant symptoms and disability needs surgical treatment. Surgery is more likely to be required if the stenosis is in the cervical or dorsal spine where the spinal cord itself is compressed.

Spinal stenosis is one of the most common reasons for which spine surgery is performed and surgical treatment gives an excellent relief of symptoms and improvement in those with severe stenosis. There are minimally invasive procedures that have been developed to minimise the muscle damage and pain due to the surgical procedure itself.

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Dr Phani Kiran S

Experience and Professionalism

With years of experience in spine surgery, Dr Phani Kiran SSenior Consultant Spine Surgeon will assess you and suggest the treatment option that is right for you.

We at Medspine clinics, understand the importance of educating all our patients about the spinal problems and the most effective ways to take care of their spine.

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