Non-Surgical Spinal decompression can be used to treat Spinal Stenosis. Your spine is made up of a series of connected bones or vertebra and shock absorbing discs. These are formed in a way that create a protective opening or canal that houses the spinal cord and nerve roots. Spinal stenosis occurs when there is a narrowing of the canal itself or a narrowing of the neural foramen. The neural foramen are holes on the sides of the connected vertebrae that house the nerve roots as they exit the spine.
Stenosis mostly affects adults 50 years and older and is generally a result of wear and tear on the joints otherwise known as osteoarthritis. As we age, the shock absorbing discs begin to breakdown and shrink, stressing the joints, causing increased bone formation or bone spurs. This extra bone growth can build up over time and and grow into the spinal canal. Other causes of stenosis include: thickened ligaments, herniated discs, tumors, and spinal injuries or trauma. Some people are born with smaller spinal canals. Stenosis can also be the result of a genetic disease or congenital deformity such as scoliosis.
Spinal stenosis can occur in 2 regions, the cervical spine or the lumbar spine. This occurs when the canal or foramen are narrowed in size putting pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Symptoms of stenosis include: neck or lower back pain, stiffness, numbness, weakness, balance problems, foot drop, loss of bowel or bladder dysfunction, and paralysis. Symptoms vary depending on the location and severity of the stenosis and which nerves are affected. Not everyone with stenosis has symptoms. However, when they do occur, they often start gradually and worsen over time.
Spinal stenosis can be diagnosed from symptomatology, medical history, and a physical exam. Diagnostic imaging such as x-rays, an MRI, or a CT scan can help to pinpoint the cause and location of the stenosis and where the nerves in the spinal cord are being pinched or pressured.