Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Spinal stenosis symptoms may appear gradually due to routine wear and tear such as muscle degeneration, bone problems, or calcification of spinal ligaments. Injuries can also cause the malfunction or aggravate an existing condition.
Spinal stenosis is caused when the vertebrae bones are narrowed in an area of the spine, putting pressure on the nerve bundles that the bones are meant to protect. The compression can occur in small or large areas of the spine and the symptoms can grow progressively worse over time, causing pain and numbness in the arms, legs, neck and shoulders.
Several types of spinal stenosis manifest in patients, and the conditions can be identified by cervical spinal stenosis symptoms, aortic spinal stenosis symptoms and lumber spinal stenosis symptoms. Pressure or compression on the lower part of the spine may lead to numbness or pain in legs. Upper spinal cord compression might cause the symptoms to manifest in the shoulders or legs. The main risk group is men and women over the age of 50 years, but the disorder can develop in younger people due to genetic malformations or back injuries.
General Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
The outward manifestations of spinal damage can vary depending on where the compression is located, but generally spinal stenosis symptoms include the following:
- Pain in the area of damage in the spine.
- Numbness and stiffness of legs, arms and shoulders that grow more pronounced.
- Intensely painful leg cramps often occur for no discernable reason.
- Headaches and muscle weakness often indicate a spinal problem.
- Numbness in the buttocks when sitting for long periods might occur.
- Neck and shoulder pain could indicate spinal stenosis or other unhealthy conditions.
- People with this disorder often have trouble balancing or walking.
- Standing for long periods of time can generate numbness and pain in the legs.
- People with spinal stenosis often manifest problems with bladder or bowel movement control.
- The loss of normal sexual capabilities might indicate spinal stenosis.
Many people develop no symptoms at all, or the symptoms manifest gradually, and people often attribute the pains to old age. People who suspect they have developed the condition must see their doctor for confirmation. The type of condition will determine the specific spinal stenosis treatment options.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain stem to the pelvis, and 26 bones protect it. The bones can become misaligned and cause the damage they are meant to prevent. Spinal stenosis can be caused by compression anywhere in these areas, or it may manifest in areas where nerves connect to the spinal cord.
Aortic Spinal Stenosis Symptoms = Serious Health Risks?
Narrowing of the bones that protect the aortic artery causes aortic spinal stenosis. The condition most commonly occurs in older people due to calcification of the bone, and health problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and other disorders aggravate the condition. Normal valves have three spurs (tricuspid), but congenital malformation often leaves only two spurs (bicuspid). Bicuspid valves are more susceptible to calcification damage in people of younger ages, those people in their 40s and 50s. The calcification typically manifests in normal valves of people in their 70s and 80s. Symptoms of aortic spinal stenosis include the following:
- Chest pain or tightness in the chest area indicates the possibility of the disorder.
- The condition can cause light-headedness or feeling faint after any sort of exertion.
- Shortness of breath with normal activity can indicate a serious problem.
- Heart murmurs or palpitations often accompany the narrowing of aortic valves.
Aortic stenosis can range from mild to severe occlusion, and patients may exhibit no outward signs. Two percent of the population has the malformed bicuspid valve, and four percent of people in their 80s will develop the condition. Diagnosis is crucial because the disorder can be corrected by valve replacement surgery.
Lumber Spinal Stenosis Symptoms – Usually Affect Legs
Nerves that branch off the spine run through canals called formina. Symptoms of lumber spinal stenosis may be caused by central spine compression on the nerves or on the branching formina. Degenerative arthritis often causes the condition in people over the age of 50. The occlusion can be identified by the following symptoms:
- Pain or numbness in the buttocks, lower back, feet and legs often indicate the presence of the condition.
- Symptoms become more severe when stretching or extending the back. Leaning forward often provides relief from pain.
- Stiffness of legs and thighs may indicate the condition.
- In severe cases, patients lose bowel and bladder control.
- The condition most often manifests as leg pain when standing or walking, and the pain often disappears when sitting or relaxing.
- Low back pain and decreased sensation in the legs may indicate the condition.
Various treatments may provide relief, but surgery is indicated for severe cases. Surgery reliably provides relief for leg pain, but it does not always eliminate lower back pain.
Cervical Spinal Stenosis Symptoms are Caused by Disc Degeneration
Discs between the bones of the spine cushion the vertebrae, allowing comfortable movement when everything is in healthy condition. Cervical spinal stenosis symptoms occur when the discs flatten or degenerate, causing the bones to move closer together, which exerts compression on the spine. Bone narrowing from old injuries may also cause the spinal cord pinching. Many people call the condition a pinched nerve, and, in many respects, that is exactly what it is. The degenerating elasticity of the discs causes compression or pinching on the nerve bundles of the spine. Symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis include the following health problems:
- The feeling of pins and needles in arms, legs or feet often indicates cervical stenosis.
- The loss of muscular control of arms and legs occurs in severe cases.
- A sudden shooting pain in neck, arms, legs or back could indicate the condition is present.
- People with the condition may close their eyes and not know where their arms and feet are located.
- People with cervical stenosis may have trouble walking, or they may drop items they are holding frequently.
Many forms of spinal stenosis can be treated with physical therapy, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustment, acupuncture, heat therapy, cold packs, or medication. In severe cases, surgery may be required.