Spinal stenosis affects the spine, causing a narrowing of the spinal canal and putting pressure on the nerves within it. It is most commonly seen in people over 50 and can cause symptoms ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and disability. By understanding the symptoms and underlying causes of Greenbelt spinal stenosis, you can better manage your condition and improve your quality of life.
Among the most common causes of spinal stenosis include:
- Age-related changes: As you age, the ligaments that support the spine can thicken and harden, and the discs between the vertebrae can degenerate, causing the spinal canal to narrow.
- Herniated discs: A herniated disc occurs when the soft, jelly-like material inside a spinal disc pushes through a crack in the outer layer and compresses the spinal cord or nerve roots.
- Spinal injuries: Trauma to the spine, such as a car accident or fall, can cause spinal stenosis.
- Tumors: Abnormal growths on the spine or spinal cord can compress the nerves and cause spinal stenosis.
Common symptoms of spinal stenosis
The symptoms can vary from person to person, depending on the severity and location of the narrowing of the spinal canal. Here are some of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis you should not ignore:
- Pain: Spinal stenosis can cause pain in the neck, back, legs, or arms, depending on which area of the spine is affected. The pain may be a dull ache or a sharp, shooting pain that radiates down the legs or arms.
- Numbness or tingling: Spinal stenosis can cause numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. This is because the narrowing of the spinal canal puts pressure on the nerves that control sensation in these areas.
- Weakness: Spinal stenosis can cause weakness in the arms or legs, making it difficult to perform everyday activities. A feeling of heaviness or fatigue may accompany this weakness.
- Difficulty walking or maintaining balance: Spinal stenosis in the lower back can cause difficulty walking, especially over longer distances. It can also cause problems with balance and coordination.
- Bowel or bladder dysfunction: In severe cases of spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal can compress the nerves that control the bladder and bowel, resulting in incontinence or difficulty urinating or having a bowel movement.
Getting medical assistance is vital if you have any spinal stenosis symptoms. This is why:
- Early diagnosis: A timely diagnosis can help your doctor determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan. The earlier you seek medical attention, the better your chances of managing your symptoms effectively.
- Prevent complications: If left untreated, spinal stenosis can lead to permanent nerve damage, loss of mobility, and difficulty with daily activities. Seeking medical attention can help prevent these complications from occurring.
- Improve the quality of life: Spinal stenosis can significantly impact a person’s quality of life, making it difficult to perform daily activities or enjoy hobbies. However, many people with spinal stenosis can manage the symptoms with proper treatment.
If you are experiencing any symptoms of spinal stenosis, it is advisable to see your doctor at Pain Management Associates LLC.