What is Spinal Stenosis?

Jan 9, 2021Uncategorized

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Spinal stenosis, sometimes called SS for short, is a serious condition that is more common in older people and can lead to serious, long-term disability if left untreated. The good news is this: people who get care from a trained physician who specialized in spinal ailments, like a chiropractor, can see very good results. Those results range from slowing down the progression of SS, halting it in its tracks, or getting nearly full relief from its effects.

There are two main types of the condition. Besides, it’s a complex medical challenge that demands expert attention. If you suspect you have SS, contact a chiropractor immediately and make an appointment for a full examination. That’s the ideal way to find out whether you have it or not, and to begin treatment if you do. Spinal stenosis can be slowed down once it appears.

Additionally, several treatment regimens, like physical therapy and exercise, can act to lessen the effects of SS. There are also lifestyle choices people can make immediately, even while they are quite healthy, that can help prevent SS from ever appearing in the first place.

That’s why a visit to the chiropractor can make all the difference for anyone, of any age, who has concerns about spinal stenosis or spinal health in general. Unfortunately, traditional approaches that involve drugs and risky surgery, are not wise options. In many cases, those two techniques do nothing but slightly delay the advance of the disease, put the patient at risk of addiction, or present further complications.

A holistic, chiropractic strategy can work to prevent, stop, show down, or relieve spinal stenosis in a large number of cases. The first thing to do is educate yourself about what SS is, its two main variations, its causes, common symptoms, methods of prevention, and why chiropractic care is a far superior approach to drug treatment or aggressive surgery.

What is Spinal Stenosis (SS)?

Simply put, there are numerous spaces and gaps between your vertebrae (the bones that constitute the spine). When these spaces become narrower due to age or disease, the nerves that run through those gaps can experience pressure from the bone tissue that surrounds them. The result: the spinal cord itself, or the nerves that connect your legs and arms to your spinal column can become irritated and cause all sorts of symptoms, including numbness, tingling, pain, and even paralysis. In the vast majority of cases of SS, this narrowing takes place either in the neck or the lumbar region of the spine.

Here are some essential facts everyone should know about spinal stenosis:

  • It usually appears very slowly, not in one or two sudden episodes of pain. That’s what makes it so hard for patients to notice.
  • The general cause of the condition is aging and the human body’s natural wearing-down process. Another common cause is related to the effects of osteoarthritis.
  • X-rays can reveal the early stages of SS long before the patient experiences any symptoms at all.
  • Approximately 500,000 people in the U.S. display symptoms of SS every year. Many seek treatment, but unfortunately, others wait until the pain or discomfort reaches a high level.
  • The most frequent symptoms include overall weakness in limbs, the back, the neck, feet, and hands. In addition to weakness in those areas, there can be a sensation of tingling, numbness, or pain.

Understanding Causes and Symptoms

For the two basic types of SS, lumbar canal stenosis and cervical stenosis, both are caused by a narrowing of the space through which nerves or the spinal cord travel. Many patients report feeling weak in the hip or groin area, experiencing numbness or weakness in various parts of the body, including the lower back, buttocks, neck, arms, legs, hands, feet, and elsewhere.

For those who have lumbar SS, the symptoms and pain sensations typically appear in the lower back regions, hips, and central part of the body. The spinal cervix (also called the neck) is one of the two places where SS can originate. The symptoms of cervical SS are similar to those of lumbar SS, but tend to occur in regions of the body that are not so close to the lower back.

Chiropractors note that there are six common causes for spinal stenosis, most of which are connected with the natural aging process, but some of which are not. They include:

  • Bone spurs related to osteoarthritis
  • Disks that are bulging (“herniated”)
  • Tumors or cysts on the spinal cord
  • Ligament thickening
  • Congenital causes, namely those a person is born with
  • Injuries/fractures of the spine

Preventing and Slowing Spinal Stenosis

When patients undergo a complete chiropractic examination, they subsequently have a detailed discussion with the doctor about the severity, causes, and specific location of the SS symptoms. After that, it’s possible to begin a comprehensive treatment program that might include self-care options.

For people who are able to effectively apply self-care remedies, common choices include application of ice packs or heat directly to the area of discomfort. It’s also possible to perform light, targeted exercise in certain cases. For many sufferers, these self-care techniques bring significant relief, but are often part of a larger regimen of treatment.

Chiropractic spinal adjustment can help to realign the spine and bring it back into a more natural state, potentially relieving pressure on nerves and on the spinal cord itself. Likewise, chiropractic massage can lessen inflammation and serve to reduce pain associated with SS.

Often, chiropractors will prescribe detailed exercise programs for people who are at risk of developing SS or who already have it. In conjunction with physical therapy administered by a chiropractic physician, these pro-active approaches can work to not only lessen pain and discomfort but to restore mobility and bring the muscles back into a state of normal function.

Chiropractic Care vs Surgery and Drugs

The advantages of chiropractic treatment over surgery or drug programs are numerous. People who are at risk for SS or who currently suffer from its effects have much to gain and nothing to lose by opting for chiropractic treatment. Compared to invasive surgery and aggressive drug therapies, chiropractic approaches for SS:

  • Are simpler and more natural
  • Do not involve invasive cutting or surgical techniques of any kind
  • Require no “recovery period” as is the case with invasive surgery
  • Cost much less
  • Take less time and can be done repeatedly as symptoms appear, particularly when spinal adjustment and massage are the primary treatment methods used by the chiropractor
  • Often include self-care programs that the patient can do at home in order to increase pain relief and long-term recovery from the effects of SS

Getting the Right Kind of Help

Spinal stenosis, like so many other serious medical conditions, can be treated most effectively when people seek help as soon as they suspect they have a problem, notice telltale symptoms, or detect any changes in spinal health. At Delaware Integrative Healthcare, you’ll get the help and information you need about your state of health. That way, you can either rule out spinal stenosis or begin treating it immediately, sometimes even before any troublesome symptoms have appeared.

Don’t take risks with your spine health. Seeing a chiropractor is the single smartest thing you can do in the face of a condition like SS. For your convenience, we have offices in Dover and Middletown. Feel free to visit our website or give us a call and ask any questions you have about how we can care for you in your time of need. Our direct phone numbers are 302-376-5830 and (302) 744-8650.

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