An Inside Look Into the Causes of Spinal Stenosis

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Neck pain is a common complaint among most people, usually due to poor posture, such as bending over your phone for extended hours. However, sometimes pain in your neck may signal an underlying medical condition, including spinal stenosis in Holmdel. Limited or tightened space can cause these nerves to become compressed, pinched, or irritated, leading to back and sciatic pain. Most patients with this condition may experience no symptoms since it develops gradually over time. However, depending on the severity of your problem, you can have symptoms such as numbing, pain tingling and weakness. The body areas that can be affected include your back, neck, legs, arms, hands, and feet.

What is spinal stenosis?

It is the tightening or narrowing of your spinal space, causing nerve pinching, compression, and irritation. Spinal stenosis can develop anywhere along your spine but commonly occurs in your neck (cervical spinal stenosis) and back (lumbar canal stenosis).

Causes of spinal stenosis

The different causes of spinal stenosis share a common nature of altering your spine structure. They cause a narrowing of your spinal space resulting in compression of nerve roots and the spinal cord. AS a result, you exhibit several symptoms such as sciatica and lower back pain. Below are the reasons that cause a narrowing of your spinal space.

  • Herniated disc

The vertebral column consists of a flat pad between each bone which acts as shock absorbers along your spine. As you age, these soft cushions dry out and form cracks on the disc’s interior. The openings allow inner contents to spill out and press on the surrounding nerves.

  • Bone overgrowth

Age-related conditions such as osteoarthritis, which is the wear and tear of bone’ cartilage, can prompt the formation of bone spurs. As the cartilage wears out, bones begin to rub against each other, including your spine. Overgrowth of bone on the vertebrae can extend into the spinal canal and limit the space. The presence of bone spurs in the channel causes narrowing, which results in nerve pinching or compression. Other medical problems such as Paget’s disease of the bone can also result in overgrowth of bone.

  • Tumors

 Abnormal growths within the spinal cord or between the spinal cord and vertebrae can narrow the space. This, in turn, puts pressure or compresses the spinal nerves. These hardly occur but can be identified using imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI.

  • Thickened ligaments

Ligaments are the tough fiber bands that hold your spine in position. Over time, they can become stiff and thicken due to conditions such as arthritis. As they build up, these ligaments bulge into the spinal canal, causing nerve compression.

  • Spinal injuries

Physical trauma from car crashes can cause bone displacement and fracturing of the vertebrae. Damage around your spine can cause narrowing of the canal and compression of the nerve roots.

Various factors such as the location of the stenosis and severity of your symptoms determine the treatment method. If you have neck or back pain accompanied by numbness, weakness, or tingling sensations, seek medical attention from your healthcare provider at Gramercy Pain Center for treatment to improve your quality of life.

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