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Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spaces within your spine stars to narrow. This can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. It occurs most often in the lower back and the neck, mostly in adults 50 and older. Over time, spinal stenosis can affect your mobility, comfort, and how your bladder and bowel work.
The two main types of spinal stenosis are: Cervical stenosis and Lumbar stenosis. The latter is the most common form of spinal stenosis. The classification is made according to where on the spine the condition occurs. A person may also have more than one type.
Cervical stenosis: The narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your neck.
Lumbar stenosis: The narrowing occurs in the part of the spine in your lower back.
Symptoms of spinal stenosis may include pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. These symptoms can worsen over time. However, some people with spinal stenosis may not have symptoms.
In cervical spine: One may experience numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg; weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg; problems with walking and balance; neck pain. In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence) may occur.
If you have lumbar stenosis you may feel numbness or tingling in a foot or leg; weakness in a foot or leg; and back pain. You may also feel pain or cramping in one or both legs when you stand for long or when you walk. The pain usually eases when you bend forward or sit.
Doctor will observe signs and symptoms, discuss your medical history and conduct a physical examination to diagnose spinal stenosis. You may have to go through several imaging tests to identify the cause of your signs and symptoms. These tests include X-rays, Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT or CT myelogram.
The type of treatment will depend on the location of the stenosis and the severity of your signs and symptoms. Treatments of spinal stenosis include medications, physical therapy, steroid injections, decompression procedure and surgery. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may suggest surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves
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