Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spine in the same space occupied by the backbone and supporting nerves. When pressure is placed on those nerves, you usually experience some degree of pain, which is often triggered by certain movements.
Aging Isn’t the Only Cause of Spinal Stenosis
Most common in people over 50, spinal stenosis can have many causes, including injury to the spine. People can also be born with a narrower spinal canal. Some of the rarer causes of spinal stenosis include:
- Excessive fluoride in the body
- Calcium deposits on ligaments
- Traumatic spine injuries
- Tumors on the spine
Spinal Stenosis Can Affect Any Part of the Spine
While common in the lower back, spinal stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine. It’s especially serious if the narrowing is relegated to the neck area, referred to as cervical stenosis. Thoracic stenosis, affecting the middle and upper portion of the spine, is less common since this is the strongest area of your back.
Some Patients Respond Well to Alternative Treatments
Anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and modification of activities are the most common treatments for spinal stenosis. However, you may be among those who respond well to alternative treatments such as acupuncture and herbal remedies. You may also experience relief from:
- Improving your posture
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Wearing low-heeled shoes
Spinal Stenosis Symptoms Often Appear Over Time
Unlike most common sources of back pain, spinal stenosis is often a slow-to-progress condition. For instance, people born with the condition may not have any symptoms until they get older, or never at all. Subtle symptoms associated with spinal stenosis can include:
- Increased instances of pain while standing or walking
- Experiencing relief when in a flexed forward position
- Pain of varying intensity that come and goes
Your Diet May Play a Significant Role in Pain Management
Unless there’s an urgent medical need, spine surgery for spinal stenosis is a last resort. Many patients experience relief from watching their weight and eating foods like green leafy veggies and fatty fish that naturally reduce inflammation. Drinking plenty of water also minimizes pain by keeping your spinal discs hydrated.
Individuals who are living with chronic pain and discomfort may benefit from undergoing decompression surgery to relieve pressure on the affected nerves. To learn more about this and other possible treatments, call The Spine Institute Center at (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation today.