Do you suspect that you may have spinal stenosis? Innovative Spine can help! Our practice is proud to provide patients in the San Antonio area of Texas with the information they need to understand their spinal health, as well as state-of-the-art treatments and therapies that can improve it. If you’d like more information about our practice or are interested in scheduling a consultation appointment, contact us today!
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis occurs when changes in the shape and size of the structures surrounding the spine begin to crowd the bone channel that encases the spinal nerves and spinal cord, applying pressure to them that can cause radiating pain, weakness, numbness, or even paralysis. Because stenosis can occur at different areas of the spine, the symptoms associated with stenosis in each region of the spine vary.
While some individuals are born with abnormally small spinal canals that trigger the onset of this condition earlier in life, most people do not develop this condition until they reach their 50’s.
Spinal stenosis that occurs in the neck is referred to as cervical spinal stenosis. This condition can affect nerves in the neck, arms, and legs, causing pain, stiffness, numbness, and weakness in these areas. Because this condition involves a greater chance of compression of the spinal cord, it can lead to extreme weakness, paralysis, and difficulty controlling the bowels and bladder in its most severe form.
The thoracic region of the spine consists of the upper and middle portion of the spine, largely composed of the vertebrae attached to the rib cage. Because this region of the spine is well supported by the rib cage and allows for only minimal movement, thoracic spinal stenosis is not very likely to develop. Individuals affected by this type of spinal stenosis typically experience pain in the ribs, back, or legs.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common form of spinal stenosis and affects the lower region of the spine. Individuals affected by this condition often experience tingling, weakness, and numbness that radiates from the lower back and continues into the buttocks and legs. Activities like walking and standing can exacerbate these symptoms.
Many times, individuals with lumbar spinal stenosis confuse it for venous insufficiency, namely because the two conditions have one common symptom — leg pain, particularly when walking. However, a fairly reliable way for a person to determine the true source of their leg pain is to see if their discomfort is alleviated by leaning forward while walking. This takes pressure off of the nerves affected by lumbar spinal stenosis but would provide no relief to an individual with venous insufficiency.
Do you suspect that you may have spinal stenosis? Doctor Frank Kuwamura, the head physician at Innovative Spine, has 19 years of experience diagnosing and treating a broad range of spinal conditions. If you’d like more information about our practice or are interested in scheduling a consultation appointment with Dr. Kuwamura, contact us today!