What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal Stenosis medical illustration

What is spinal stenosis? spinal stenosis is a common reason why people see a chiropractor or get physical therapy. It can cause pain up and down your back and into you neck, but fortunately, physical therapy and chiropractic care can provide relief.

Spinal stenosis refers to a condition in which the space around the spinal cord becomes narrowed, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerves. The location of the pain caused by the stenosis depends on where in the spine the narrowing has occurred. A number of things can cause spinal stenosis, including injuries, diseases of the bone, tumors, and thickened ligaments. However, it is most often caused by osteoarthritis or aging. For most patients, care from a chiropractor or physical therapy can reduce the pain associated with spinal stenosis without medication.

What Does It Feel Like to Have Stenosis?

A senior man with back pains and a woman standing on grass

The spinal canal extends down the spine. It’s responsible for housing the spinal cord and nerves. Ideally, the spinal canal should have enough free space to avoid exerting any pressure on these delicate structures. But in people with spinal stenosis, this space is narrowed. Individuals with spinal stenosis might not seek back pain relief right away. The symptoms often develop gradually and may initially be mistaken for being the usual aches and pains that arise from daily life.

But over time, spinal stenosis symptoms can worsen. Patients may see a sports medicine provider because of pain, cramping, and numbness in the back or neck. These symptoms may affect the buttocks and legs. Unexplained muscle weakness can occur and patients may have trouble walking. In severe cases, a patient may lose control of the bladder or bowels, which is a complication that indicates a medical emergency.

What Is Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

Chiropractors often see patients with neck pain caused by spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal, which runs through the spine and houses the spinal nerves and spinal cord. When the spinal canal is narrower than usual, pressure is exerted on the delicate nerves. This results in the symptoms of spinal stenosis.

You can hear more about this condition when you watch this introductory video. If you think you might have spinal stenosis of the neck, you should know that there are effective nonsurgical treatment options for neck pain relief, such as chiropractic care.

Dr. Mark Yezak
Mark Yezak, BS, DC, is the founder, chiropractic director, and chief of staff at Houston Spine & Rehabilitation Centers. Offering 25 years of experience. Dr. Yezak is a published author of research papers, books, and journal entries. He is undoubtedly a leader in his field.
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