What is Spinal Stenosis?
As one ages, one gains wisdom. One also gains extra aches and pains as ones body starts deteriorating, and unless you’re Benjamin Button, you will not feel as good at 60 as you did when you were 30.
Spinal stenosis is one of the ailments that are likely to become a part of your life as you age. It is degenerative, and can affect any part of the spine.
In brief, the narrowing of the spinal channel in which the spinal cord runs causes spinal stenosis. This narrowing restricts the space needed by the spinal cord, causing pain and unusual sensation in the surrounding areas. Osteoarthritic spinal stenosis causes the spinal discs to diminish in size, until the bones start rubbing against each other. This friction will cause bone spur growth, which in itself is extremely painful. Rheumatoid Arthritis manifests its presence at younger ages, but is relatively uncommon.
Further conditions known to cause spinal stenosis are tumors, Paget’s disease, ossification, Fluorosis, and disc herniation. Of these, only Fluorosis and disc herniation could perhaps have been avoided.
In over 30 years as a spinal injury lawyer I have consulted with many people who have contracted spinal stenosis through the carelessness of other people. Fluorosis is caused by high concentrations of fluorides in the system, usually through continued prolonged ingestion of, or contact with fluorides in water, insecticides or industrial gasses. Fluorosis takes time to develop to the point that it becomes debilitating.
Spinal disc herniation as a cause of spinal stenosis comes about as a result of trauma, invariably an accident, in which a vertebra is dislodged, causing a restriction on the spinal cord channel. Due to the fact that the symptoms of spinal stenosis are so similar to other spinal problems, a physician will perform extensive testing to determine whether or not the patient has spinal stenosis or some other neurological disorder. After an all-embracing examination, the patient will be sent for any one of the following, possibly more: x-rays, CAT scan, MRI scan, myelogram, and bone scan. Each of these items has a place in the diagnosis. The x-ray will always be done first, to eliminate other physical injuries or tumors. It will provide the physician with a ‘road-map’ of the individuals bone structure; and will also indicate any signs of calcification.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), creates slices of the affected area, and will show soft tissue, such as the spinal cord, nerve roots, and tumors. A CAT scan is able to reproduce three-dimensional images of the area, as well as cross section slices.
Injecting a liquid dye into the spinal column, and then taking x-rays of the spinal column will indicate whether there is any pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The cause of the pressure, such as a herniated disc, tumor, or bone spur can also be identified.
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This website is provided as a public service regarding the topic of spinal injury and is not to be relied upon as medical or legal advice. The information supplied is of a general nature only, and is not intended to be relied upon. This information is not represented to be the most up to date or to cover your particular circumstances.
Before deciding to obtain care, treatment, or to determine a diagnosis, please consult with a licensed physician, and concerning your legal rights please consult with a lawyer.
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Related information and articles
Spinal Stenosis informationwww.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Spinal_Stenosis/default.asp
Lumbar Spinal Stenosiswww.medicinenet.com/lumbar_stenosis/article.htm
Spinal Stenosis - What is spinal stenosis?www.saspine.org/surgery/decompressive_surgery_spinal_stenosis.htm
Spinal Stenosis: Lumbar and Cervicalwww.spineuniverse.com/conditions/spinal-stenosis/spinal-stenosis-lumbar-cervical
Causes of Spinal Stenosishttp://backandneck.about.com/od/conditions/ss/spinalstenosis_3.htm
Spinal stenosis - Causeswww.mayoclinic.com/health/spinal-stenosis/DS00515/DSECTION=causes