Spinal Stenosis Palm Beach Florida
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in the spine, which causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. About 75% of cases occur in the low back (lumbar spine). In most cases, the narrowing of the spine associated with stenosis compresses the nerve root, which can cause pain along the back of the leg.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
There are many potential causes for spinal stenosis, including:
- Aging: With age, the body's ligaments can thicken. Spurs (small growths) may develop on the bones and into the spinal canal. The cushioning disks between the vertebrae may begin to deteriorate. The facet joints (flat surfaces on each vertebra that form the spinal column) also may begin to break down.
- Arthritis: Two forms of arthritis that may affect the spine are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:
- Instability of the spine, or spondylolisthesis: When one vertebra slips forward on another, that can narrow the spinal canal.
- Heredity: If the spinal canal is too small at birth, symptoms of spinal stenosis may show up in a relatively young person.
- Tumors of the spine: Abnormal growths of soft tissue may affect the spinal canal directly by causing inflammation or by growth of tissue into the canal. Tissue growth may lead to bone resorption (bone loss due to overactivity of certain bone cells) or displacement of bone and the eventual collapse of the supporting framework of the spinal column.
- Trauma: Accidents and injuries may either dislocate the spine and the spinal canal or cause burst fractures that produce fragments of bone that penetrate the canal.
What are Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis?
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for relief.
- Receiving cortisone injections directly into the spinal column to provide short-term relief.
- Engaging in exercise and physical therapy that focuses on strengthening the back and abdominal muscles.
If the above treatment options do not ease the pain, you should consider spine surgery.
The goal of spinal stenosis surgery is to permanently decompress the spinal canal.
Types of spine surgery:
- Laminectomy: The most common type of surgery for this condition, laminectomy involves the removal of the lamina, a portion of the vertebra, to make room for the nerves. Some ligaments and bone spurs may also be removed. The surgery requires making an incision into the back.
- Foraminotomy: The foramen is the area in the vertebrae where the nerve roots exit. The procedure involves expanding this area to provide more space for the nerve roots.
- Spinal Fusion: This procedure is done in cases of instability and involves joining the bones together with screws or bone grafts to provide spinal stability. It may be combined with laminectomy surgery. The surgery lasts several hours and can be done using one of two methods. Bone is removed from elsewhere in the body or obtained from a bone bank. This bone is used to create a bridge between vertebrae and stimulates the growth of new bone. Metal implants are secured to the vertebrae to hold them together until new bone grows between them.
After spine surgery, a prescription of walking and strengthening exercises for the lower back and abdomen will help stabilize the spine.