Over the years the spinal cord and the nerves along the cord in the spinal column may get pinched or touch the anterior walls due to the narrowing of the openings of the spinal column. This is known as stenosis. The levels of discomfort from stenosis is quite high and the condition leads to debilitating situations whihc may give rise to other complications if left untreated.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis –
If it is in the lower back (lumbar spine), the patient may develop pain while walking. This is called medically as Claudication. This is a good indicator of the existence of spinal stenosis.
Usually the pain will go away when rested, the only difference between spinal stenosis and circulatory insufficiency is that in the case of stenosis the patient will have to sit down for the claudication to subside while in the case of vascular insufficiency mere cessation of walking will stop the pain.
In the case of lumbar stenosis, flexing forward while remaining seated will give relief from pain, and the patient may reach normalcy, but the pain will recur when the patient resumes upright posture. Numbness and tingling can also accompany the pain.
Diagnosing Spinal Stenosis
MRI or a CT scan is the first step in diagnosing spinal stenosis. The MRI scan or a CT scan is usually done with myelogram (using an X-ray dye in the spinal sac fluid), and sometimes both MRI and a CT scan are done. Plain CT scans can better identify bony causes of spinal stenosis, However soft tissue causes of stenosis such as disc bulges, disc herniations, and ligament hypertrophy cannot be ascertained with a normal CT scan.
Usually general examination may not reveal the existence of spinal stenosis as weakness, tingling sensation and radial pain may occur in a particular angle of compression of the spine.
At Navaladi Endo Spine Care, upright MRIs, flexion extension MRIs, and spine load-bearing MRIs have been used to identify the canal dimensions and dynamic changes on the spine. While the actual efficacies of these tests cannot be generalised, the surgeon’s expertise usually strikes gold in these forms of examination.
Of course the challenge would be to identify stenosis in the lumbar from general neuropathic conditions, but the decades of experience of the doctors at Navaladi Endo Spine Care makes for precise analysis and determination of lumbar spinal stenosis and the subsequent cutting edge treatment.