Spinal stenosis is a condition where space inside the backbone gets narrower and thrusts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves which pass by the spine. Those who are born with narrow spinal space or who have spinal injury are more susceptible to spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is detected by methods including X-rays, Magnetic Resonance Imaging and Computerized Tomography.
Age-related issues, arthritis, tumors in the spine, fractures and other conditions like congenital stenosis, scoliosis and achondroplasia may cause spinal stenosis.
While some develop symptoms slowly over a period of time, few others are affected by spinal stenosis without any symptoms.
During spinal stenosis, patients experience pain in the back, legs, thighs and buttocks especially while standing or during exercises. Symptoms of spinal stenosis include neurogenic claudication, sciatica, foot drop, gait issues, radiating arm pain, failing motor skills, bowel bladder incontinence and cauda equina syndrome.
Neurogenic claudication, which occurs due to spinal stenosis, wear and tear of lower spine, bulging discs, thickening of ligaments and overgrowth of bone spurs.
Sciatica is a symptom of spinal stenosis. While sciatica affects lower parts of the body, spinal stenosis affects arms as well. Patients experience pain while lifting their feet with toes pointed upwards and stumble and fall. As a result of the fall they develop new injuries.
Compression in the neck due to spinal stenosis causes gait issues where patients experience imbalance while walking.
Arthritis in the neck, upper and mid spine can compress the spinal cord owing to which the nerve signals do not travel properly from the brain to the feet. This results in gait issues which signal spinal stenosis.
Foot drop which occurs due to lumbar disc herniation and lumbar spinal disorders and indicates spinal stenosis. Owing to foot drop, the leg drags towards the front while walking. This creates a loss of balance and the patient could not walk without assistance.
The patient also lifts the knee of the affected leg higher than the other leg. Being a neuromuscular disorder, foot drop affects the peroneal nerve which begins below the knee and follows the path along the outside of the leg towards the ankle, foot, big toe and first toe.
Due to radiating arm pain or radiculopathy, patients experience difficulty in gripping objects, buttoning and writing which signals presence of spinal stenosis. Due to increased pressure in nerve roots, patients could not control bladder and bowel.
Though there is no cure for spinal stenosis, the symptoms may be treated in early stages through medications, physical therapy and epidural steroid injections. Surgery is resorted to in severe conditions.
Dr Karunakaran S, leading spine surgeon in India, is the best choice for spinal stenosis treatment. Backed by 2 decade experience and acknowledged by numerous awards, he is also a pioneer in South India to have used INSPACE, an interspinous implant to treat lumbar canal stenosis.
Dr Karunakaran also has enthusiastically participated in public benefit activities including symposium for cervical spine injuries, awareness talk on spinal disorders and prevention of the same, free physiotherapy camps, bone mineral density camps and other spine camps.