There are many different types of back pain that can cause problems for people and one of the most common types is known as spinal stenosis. This condition is broken into two main classifications lumbar and cervical. Lumbar stenosis is the most commonly seen type, but cervical stenosis tends to be a more dangerous condition because it damages the spinal cord more than lumbar stenosis. Here is a more detailed comparison of these two painful and serious conditions.
Lumbar Stenosis or Cervical Stenosis
In the condition known as lumbar stenosis, the nerves in the lower back become compressed. This often results in sciatica symptoms -- weakness, tingling, pain, or numbness. Pain can begin at the base of the spine and radiate down the leg into the foot.
Spinal stenosis of the neck (cervical spinal stenosis) is much more dangerous because it is not just nerves being compressed but the spinal cord itself. Many symptoms come with this sort of spine compression and the most severe being weakness of the entire body and overall pain and numbness, or in severe cases paralysis.
The Spine and the Human Anatomy
Learning about the ins and outs of spinal stenosis means one must have at least an understanding of the basics of spinal anatomy and how it interacts with the rest of the body. The vertebral column of the spine is much like a tower of stacked bone segments that has a central core of nerves running through it known as the spinal cord. Each bony structures has a specially designed part that helps to keep it stabilized and helps the spine stay straight and strong. The spinal column bones also protect the nerves that connect the brain to the nerve systems that run throughout the entire body. When the spinal column becomes damaged, pinched, twisted, or compressed, it damages these nerves and affects the body parts connected to those nerves. This is why a pinched nerve in the back and cause pain and weakness in the arms legs or other parts of the body no-where near the spine.
How Is Spinal Stenosis Treated?
The most commonly seen treatment options for spinal stenosis include:
Changes in posture: People who suffer from some form of spinal stenosis may find comfort from changing the positions they normally sit, sleep, and work in. Physical therapists can help suggest positions that bring relief by enlarging the space available for the nerves to pass through the spinal area and prevent compression from being as severe.
Chiropractic: Regular relief provided by spinal adjustment can help increase circulator function of the nerves and improve overall recuperation.
Acupuncture: Stimulation of key nerve endings can aid in recovery, and may reduce inflammation and make patients less sensitive to movements that normally cause pain.
Medications: In some cases, inflammatory swelling can cause the compression that result in pain, weakness, and numbness. Swelling can be caused by injury, muscle strain, or as a side effect to medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are commonly given to help relieve symptoms and reduce the swelling problem.
Rest: Building back up to normal activity levels can help keep the symptoms of spinal stenosis at bay. Aerobic activity as well as things like yoga can also help once you are back up and moving.
Surgery: If other treatments bring little to no relief from the pain, surgery may be recommended and a special procedure will be done in order to relieve pressure and correct any conditions that are causing chronic pinched nerves, but this should only be an option after all other options have proven ineffective, and as a treatment of last resort.
Colorado Active Health Chiropractic, PLLC is committed to providing the best possible care to all of our patients. A healthy regimen of Chiropractic and Acupuncture go a long way toward proper health. Call our office to come in for a consultation today!