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Spinal narrowing

Spinal narrowing defined

Spinal narrowing, also called spinal stenosis, is a condition that occurs when the spinal canal — the protective space in the spinal column that houses the spinal cord — becomes constricted. This occurrence is usually due to bone or tissue in the spine that has moved out of place.

Spinal narrowing diagnosis

When you consult with a physician to determine the cause of your neck or back pain, he or she will listen to you describe your symptoms and then look for signs that nerve compression has occurred. To confirm your spinal narrowing diagnosis, you may be asked to get an X-ray, CT scan or MRI.

Spinal narrowing causes

Spinal narrowing is most often the result of spinal degeneration that occurs as part of the natural aging process. Other factors that can reduce the space within the spinal canal include traumatic injury, overuse or a genetic condition — all of which can cause changes in the anatomical structure of the spine.

Spinal narrowing symptoms

Symptoms of spinal narrowing usually arise when the reduction of space within the spinal canal leads to the compression of a nerve root or the spinal cord. Symptoms of nerve compression can include pain, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness and muscle spasms, and these symptoms usually manifest in the extremities that the affected nerve travels to. For this reason, in cases where the spinal cord is compressed, these symptoms can occur anywhere in the body below the site of compression.

Spinal narrowing treatment

Most patients with spinal narrowing only require conservative, nonsurgical treatment to manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life. Therefore, most physicians will begin a patient’s treatment by prescribing a combination of conservative methods, which may consist of pain medication, hot/cold therapy, physical therapy and muscle relaxants, among others.

Spinal narrowing surgery

In the event that weeks or months of conservative treatment do not provide sufficient relief from your symptoms, spinal narrowing surgery may be recommended. Though patients can choose to undergo traditional open spine procedures, Laser Spine Institute offers an alternative with minimally invasive, outpatient spine surgery. Our procedures are performed through a less than 1-inch incision and utilize muscle-sparing techniques, leading to reduced risk of infection and shorter recovery time^ compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.

If you would like to learn more about the ways in which our procedures may help you find relief from your spinal narrowing symptoms, contact Laser Spine Institute today. Our team can help you determine if you are a candidate for our procedures by providing you with a no-cost review* of your MRI.