People may experience a number of health issues with their back, some more specific than others. Each condition should be carefully diagnosed and treated just as specifically. For example, spinal stenosis occurs when “the spine is narrowed in one or more areas,” according to the National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIH/NIAMS)
This may occur:
- At the center of the spine
- In the canals where nerves branch out from the spine
- In the space between the bones of the spine
The NIAMS adds, “This narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, and can cause pain.”
What Treatments Are Available?
When you begin working with your spine surgeon, they will help determine if you’re suffering from spinal stenosis, then develop the correct treatment plan. The process may begin with image tests such as an MRI. This test can show disk and ligament damage, and can also indicate where nerves are being pressured.
Your medical professional may prescribe pain relievers and other medications to help with the symptoms of spinal stenosis, though this is a short-term treatment at best. An individual program of physical therapy can help maintain strength and flexibility. Further treatments may include steroid injections or decompression procedure, methods that generally precede surgery.
Surgical treatment options, depending on individual condition, include:
What is Laminectomy?
Your spine surgeon may determine if laminectomy is best for you. Also referred to as decompression surgery, this procedure “creates space by removing the lamina, the back part of a vertebra that covers the spinal canal.”
Laminectomy relieves pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves branching out from the spinal cord. This specific procedure is generally recommended when the more-conservative treatments mentioned earlier have not delivered relief.
What is Spinal Fusion?
This treatment connects two or more spine vertebrae permanently, which mimics the healing process of a broken bone. Bone or a “bone-like” material is placed between two spinal vertebrae to help the vertebrae heal into a stable unit.
It is extremely important for you to discuss these procedures with your doctor and your spinal surgeon before making a final decision.
What Happens If My Problems Go Untreated?
If your pain or discomfort is caused by a pinched nerve, for example, you may continue to experience that pain or discomfort over a long period of time. A pinched nerve, untreated, my lead to muscle atrophy, followed by loss of strength in the back or other areas of the body.
If your medical professional determines you have osteoarthritis, as another example, and it goes untreated, it may lead to spinal stenosis – the narrowing of the spinal canal. It’s always best to consult your doctor to find out what is causing your back or neck pain. Reach out to the physicians at The Spine Center today to determine the root cause of your back and neck pain. Our surgeons can provide personalized treatment recommendations to get you back on your feet. Call 847-628-8147 or contact us to learn more.