Care at CNSO – Understanding Spinal Stenosis
From the base of your skull to your tailbone, the bones and joints of your spinal column create a well-protected canal through which the spinal cord and nerves travel. In normal health, this spinal canal is large and roomy, allowing plenty of space for the neural elements within.
Narrowing of this canal results in spinal stenosis, referred to as cervical stenosis in the neck and lumbar stenosis in the lower back.
Spinal stenosis usually results from degenerative, arthritic changes to the bones and joints of the spinal column. As we age, our bones and joints naturally succumb to daily wear and tear, in a process known as arthritis. Arthritic joints can become enlarged or deformed, as is typically seen in arthritic knuckles in the hands and fingers. When these arthritic deformities occur in the spine, overgrown joints, ligaments, or bone spurs can crowd into the canal reserved for the spinal cord and nerves, resulting in stenosis, and pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Therefore, spinal stenosis is more common with aging. In the general population, only about one in twenty adults have spinal stenosis. However, that incidence is doubled for those over 70.
If neural compression from spinal stenosis becomes sufficiently advanced, electrical signals in the spinal cord and nerves can be interrupted, and the ability of your brain to communicate with your body becomes impaired. This can result in pain or numbness in the arms and legs, loss of dexterity, weakness, or poor balance. Pressure on the nerves can also result in weakness in the arms and legs.
In general, spinal stenosis symptoms tend to be mild, and do not require aggressive intervention. Physical therapy for core and neck strengthening, postural training, and skeletal stabilization slows or reverses the progression of arthritic damage and joint overgrowth. Most people with stenosis can learn to manage their symptoms effectively and prevent recurrences.
However, in some instances, spinal stenosis is advanced, causing severe pain, weakness, or functional loss. When this occurs, surgery may be warranted, and entails enlarging the narrowed spinal, giving the spinal cord and nerves more space to travel freely.
When seeking treatment for spinal stenosis, take care to seek the help of experienced, qualified spine specialists who understand the complexities of diagnosing spine ailments: many of your symptoms, such as pain or tingling, cannot be measured, and may result from common conditions unrelated to spinal stenosis. The diagnosis of symptomatic spinal stenosis can never be made from MRIs alone, because most adults have abnormal findings on MRI even if they do not have symptoms. Beware of providers who offer free MRI reviews.
A spine specialist evaluating your spinal stenosis must be willing to spend a great deal of time listening to you in order to gather clues about where your symptoms are coming from. He or she must also conduct a detailed physical and neurological examination. It is only then that your spine specialist can make sense of your complicated MRI, with many possible abnormal findings, and determine whether these findings are related to your specific symptoms and signs. This is an important point: If the initial diagnosis is incorrect, all treatment plans will result in failure, even if those treatments are performed well.
The vast majority of spinal stenosis patients will return to normal activity without surgery. The body has a remarkable capacity for healing, and the role of your spine specialist is to guide you through this process quickly, and prevent future recurrences of symptoms.
However, for the rare patients who do need injections or surgery to regain normal function, the spine specialists must have a broad range of skills and a proven record of technical mastery to assure optimal outcomes. You owe it to yourself to get treatment from the best spine specialists in the field.
NJ’s only Comprehensive Center for Spinal Stenosis: Available near you for evaluation, treatment, and follow up care.
The dedicated team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO) understands how neck and back problems can impact your daily life. By working with this team of renowned, board-certified neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, non-surgical physicians, physiatrists, rehabilitation specialists, and certified physical therapists, you will receive comprehensive and coordinated care, so you can quickly resume a healthy, less painful lifestyle free from disability. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations spanning across northern New Jersey, including offices in Bergen, Passaic, Morris, Essex, Hudson, and Sussex Counties. Northern NJ patients can learn more about effectively treating spinal stenosis by contacting the providers at CNSO today.
Spinal Stenosis places pressure on the spinal column and nerves, including the primary nerves that control extremities.
Expert Care From New Jersey’s Most Comprehensive Spine and Neurosurgical Facilities
The compassionate care and precision found at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine, and Orthopedics (CNSO) is unrivaled, offering board certified neurosurgeons, also spine surgeons, as well as a complete non-surgical team of physiatrists, pain management physicians and physical therapists. From minor conditions that respond well to conservative treatments, to more serious conditions that may require complex surgery, the award-winning team uses advanced medical technology and practices to ensure faster recovery for each patient. CNSO offers multiple convenient locations spanning northern NJ to treat patients from Bergen County to Essex County including towns of Fair Lawn, Montclair, and Hackensack, NJ. Patients are welcome to contact CNSO to alleviate symptoms of spinal stenosis today.