Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the space inside your backbone. The narrowing of the bony openings in the spinal canal often leads to the compression of spinal cords and nerves, which run throughout your spine. You will likely suffer from spinal stenosis Memorial Area if you are 60 years and above, and it tends to worsen over time. Spinal stenosis usually occurs in your lower back and neck. The narrowing of the spinal canal may be due to the natural aging process, causing the wear and tear of the spinal bones. As a result, bone spurs form, pushing into your spinal canal.
Other potential causes of spinal stenosis may include herniated disks, thick ligaments, tumors, and a spinal injury. For instance, disks absorb shocks that may affect your spinal bones, and the leakage of their inner materials may cause spinal narrowing. Also, the development of a tumor or tumors inside your spinal canal can lead to its narrowing.
There is a high chance you may have spinal stenosis without experiencing any associated symptoms. But when you have the symptoms, they vary depending on the affected part of your spine. Consequently, below are signs you may have spinal stenosis.
- Neurogenic claudication
The condition emanates from the compression or constriction of the spinal nerves in your lower spine. Thus, there is direct pressure on the spinal cord and blood vessels adjacent to the spine. Compressing blood vessels reduces the amount of oxygen-rich blood your spinal cord and nerves receive.
The pain and discomfort in your lower back extend to your legs. Therefore, you may experience constant leg pain and numbness, especially when you stand, walk, or bend your spine backward. You may also have trouble performing certain activities and exercises.
You can relieve your intermittent leg pain by bending your spine forward, like when you lean on a shopping cart.
Also known as sciatic neuritis, sciatica is a condition involving pain that travels along the sciatic nerve path. The sciatic nerve extends from your lower back (lumbar region) to your hips, buttocks, and legs. Therefore, depending on the affected nerve roots, you may feel pain in your back, buttock, calf, thigh, or foot. You will experience pricking, tingling, or numbness in the affected area because of the interruption of blood supply to your nerves.
Because of the numbness and weakness of your leg, you may have a condition known as a foot drop. Also called drop foot, a foot drop is when you cannot move or lift your toes and foot. As a result, you will often trip or drag your toes along the ground as you walk.
- Abnormal walking
The spinal narrowing may gradually cause you to have an abnormal gait, depending on the affected area of your spine. If spinal stenosis occurs in your lower back, the muscles in the legs and thighs may become weaker, and you may have a drop foot, leading to walking abnormality.
Other potential signs of spinal stenosis may include radiating pain in the hands and arms and the inability to do regular tasks with your hands. For example, you may find it increasingly difficult to hold a pen and write.
Contact Expert Pain today to schedule an appointment with a spinal stenosis specialist.