What Can Cause Spinal Stenosis?
Two conditions generally cause spinal stenosis: protruding disc or arthritic joints in the spine. As we get older and the structures in the spine degenerate, often the major supporting ligaments thicken and can add to the narrowing of the space.
Additionally, fatty deposits occur and add to the stenotic condition. A condition called spondylolisthesis, where one vertebra slides forward or backward on another vertebra, can cause stenosis of the central canal and the intervertebral foramen.
Spinal joints need to move properly, and the intrinsic muscles that support the spine must work correctly to limit degeneration and damage of the spinal ligaments. Degeneration of these ligaments is the leading cause for non-traumatic spinal stenosis.
There are different degrees of stenosis: mild, medium and severe. When severe, the stenosis puts pressure on the spinal cord and the exiting nerves. This can be an extremely serious condition, even considered a medical emergency. You do not want pressure on the spinal cord!
How is Spinal Stenosis Diagnosed?
Symptoms in the neck (cervical spine) include:
- Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg
- Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg
- Problems with walking and balance
- Neck pain
- In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)
Symptoms in the lower back (lumbar spine):
- Numbness or tingling in a foot or leg
- Weakness in a foot or leg
- Pain or cramping in one or both legs when standing for long periods of time or when walking, which usually eases when bent forward or sitting
- Back pain
Stenosis can be viewed on both x-ray and MRI. Both may be appropriate depending on the severity of the patient’s presentation. A thorough exam including an appropriate history, orthopedic and neurologic testing, helps determine what imaging is required. Patients need an accurate diagnosis to ensure they receive the best treatment protocol.
We take a traditional biomechanical approach to assessing the spine, much like an Orthopedist (MD), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) or highly skilled Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT). We start with a free consultation to obtain a detailed patient history and to discuss your symptoms. If Dr. Manteris determines chiropractic care is appropriate, he will then perform testing, a thorough examination and take x-rays (if needed). Dr. Manteris will then diagnose if the issue is related to spinal stenosis and what your specific treatment protocol will entail.
How is Spinal Stenosis Treated with Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care can offer effective treatment for mild and moderate spinal stenosis. However, once patients reach a point of severe stenosis in the spinal canal, they most often need a surgical consultation. Therefore, early diagnosis and treatment is important!
Severe stenosis doesn’t just happen. For example, an auto accident can cause stenosis. Otherwise, it’s a degenerative and progressive process that results from not taking care of your spine. Avoid becoming a statistic! Instead, invest in quality chiropractic care.
If you have mild to moderate stenosis and it’s determined you are not a surgical candidate, which Dr. Manteris can determine by a thorough examination, chiropractic care can keep the condition from progressing to a severe stage.
Non-chiropractic treatments include fusions, foraminotomy, discectomies and artificial discs. These surgical options come with high costs, long recovery time and often poor outcomes. Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS) is very common. The failure rate of lumbar spine surgery has been estimated to be up to 46% in 2004 and has not improved since then, although the costs to health care has skyrocketed.
Chiropractic care provides a non-invasive and cost-effective solution to slow the progression or prevent spinal stenosis.
Broomfield Spine + Injury Offer Effective Spinal Stenosis Treatment
At Broomfield Spine + Injury, we believe long-term patient health matters! We want to help you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle as you age. Chiropractic care offers a way to maintain vibrancy and quality of life.