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Understanding Spinal Stenosis

As many as 500,000 Americans live with spinal stenosis, but not everyone experiences the same intensity of symptoms. Some people experience constant pain while others experience burning or tingling sensations. 

Dr. John Regan and our expert team at Spine Group Beverly Hills are here to help manage your back pain, whether you’ve been dealing with spinal stenosis for years or just learning you have it. 

Continue reading to learn more about spinal stenosis and how we can help you get the relief you need.

What is spinal stenosis?

Stenosis is the Greek word for narrowing, and that’s just what happens with spinal stenosis — it’s a narrowing of the space in your spine. Spinal stenosis and the narrowing is often caused by wear-and-tear on your spine as you get older or as a result of osteoarthritis. As the spaces narrow, it can put pressure on your nerves. When your nerves are compressed, you might experience:

The severity and intensity of your symptoms depend on the degree of the narrowing and how much pressure is put on your nerves. You might notice symptoms worsen as time progresses. In severe cases, compromised nerves may cause bladder problems or difficulty walking.

Types of spinal stenosis 

Spinal stenosis can be classified according to which areas of your spine are affected. Cervical spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing that occurs in your neck. Alternatively, lumbar spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing in the spaces of your lower back. Lumbar spinal stenosis is more common, but it’s possible to experience narrowing in both your cervical spine and your lumbar spine.

I have spinal stenosis now what?

If your symptoms suggest that spinal stenosis is the culprit of your pain, Dr. Regan will order an X-ray or MRI to confirm the diagnosis. If you do have spinal stenosis, there are many treatment options — including both conservative and surgical treatments.

Conservative treatment options include:

Sometimes conservatives options just aren’t enough to relieve pain, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck with a traditional open surgery. Spinal stenosis can be treated with a minimally invasive procedure. During decompression surgery, Dr. Regan removes thick ligaments in your spinal column which opens up more space in your spinal canal and relieves pressure on your nerves. Studies show that decompression surgery is an effective option that improves the function of your spine while reducing back and leg pain.

Do you spot the signs of spinal stenosis?  Call our Beverly Hills or Santa Monica, California office to schedule an appointment.

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