Spinal stenosis is a disorder that is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing happens as a result of the degeneration of both the facet joints and the intervertebral discs. In this condition, bone spurs (also called osteophytes) grow into the spinal canal. The facet joints also enlarge as they become arthritic, which contributes to a decrease in the space available for the nerve roots.Spinal stenosis is a condition where the open spaces between the spine get reduced.
This causes strain on the spine due to increased pressure. This mostly happens as you age and the disks tend to become drier, hence reducing space between the spine. There are many causes for spinal stenosis. It can be caused due to old age, tumors, trauma to the spine, or bone related disease.
There are two main forms of spinal stenosis, these are cervical spinal stenosis and lumbar spinal stenosis, named after the region of the spine it affects. The symptoms those are commonly seen in patients are listed below.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Weakness Or Numbness
Cervical spinal stenosis can also manifest itself in this way. You may experience weakness or a tingling sensation in your limbs. You may face difficulty in doing the simplest of daily tasks like walking or picking up a pen or a pencil. Since nerves from the neck extend to different parts of the body like wrists, shoulders, and fingers you could experience pain, weakness or even spasms in these parts.
Loss Of Control In The Bowel Or Bladder
This is also a common symptom of cervical spinal stenosis where one loses his or her ability to control the bladder or bowel movements leading to incontinence. There can also be a loss of sexual function. All these symptoms indicate that it is a serious condition and when one is suffers from this symptom, they should immediately rush to the doctors .Another form of spinal stenosis is the lumbar spinal stenosis that affects the lower region of the spine.
If the condition goes unchecked for a long time, then paralysis can also occur in extreme cases. Thus, it is important that once you start experiencing any kind of pain the neck, shoulders or in your limbs, you must consult your doctor or chiropractor.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Lumbar spinal stenosis causes people to have trouble with walking, it causes them extreme pain. Severe cramping can also occur in the legs of patients suffering from this condition. Another symptom observed is stiffness of the thighs and legs. The major obstacle in diagnosing this condition is the absence of any kind of symptoms for a long time. Usually symptoms don’t appear unless the condition worsens over time. Some relief in pain is observed when the affected persons change their posture, like sitting up straight or sitting down.
Neck Or Shoulder Pain
This is one of the symptoms of cervical spinal stenosis. This happens when the nerves in this area are compressed. Sometime even if a person is suffering from cervical spinal stenosis, the symptoms cannot be felt, i.e. absence of pain. However, persons suffering from neck pain should be sure what exactly the cause behind it is and should consult a doctor immediately in case of intense pain.