All About Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Warning Signs, and Treatment Options

Jun 02, 2023
All About Spinal Stenosis: Causes, Warning Signs, and Treatment Options
Spinal stenosis causes nerve compression, which can lead to limiting dysfunction and widespread discomfort. Our experts discover the underlying cause before treating spinal stenosis using the latest strategies.

Around 75% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and spinal stenosis accounts for many of those cases. Back pain and any other symptoms that co-occur with it can cost you your sick days at work, hours of sleep, or enjoyment of your leisure time. It can also be challenging to manage especially if you’re not sure what causes it. 

Haddis T. Hagos, MD, and Brent Earls, MD, of Pain Management Associates LLC in Greenbelt, Maryland, are up to the challenge for treating your spinal stenosis so you can thrive at any age. Spinal stenosis happens when your spinal canals get narrower and compress the spinal nerves within. Using advanced diagnostic imaging tests, Dr. Hagos and Dr. Earls pinpoint the source of your symptoms and develop a suitable treatment strategy. 

Here, they help you learn about spinal stenosis, the conditions that cause it, and the treatments that can restore your spinal health. 

Conditions that cause spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis isn’t a condition itself. It’s a term for what happens when nerves in your spine are compressed because of the narrowing of the passageways in your spine. It typically happens in high-stress areas of your back like your lower back or neck: Spinal stenosis in the thoracic spine is far less common. 

Many conditions and injuries can tighten the passageways in your spine and leave less space for the nerves to pass through. Our interventional pain management experts at Pain Management Associates LLC look for signs of:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Herniated discs
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spondylolisthesis (a slipped vertebrae)
  • Spinal injuries
  • Tumors
  • Bone spurs

Any of these conditions or injuries can cause inflammation further compressing nerves in your spine. Many people experience spinal stenosis due to wear-and-tear damage related to osteoarthritis, a condition that worsens over time. 

Symptoms to look for

Many people assume spinal conditions like spinal stenosis will primarily cause back pain, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While you might experience some pain or discomfort in your neck or low back, other symptoms of spinal stenosis depend on the specific nerve being compressed. 

Every nerve exiting your spine travels to some other part of your body. Some are motor nerves that control movement while others are sensory nerves that detect sensations like pain or touch. Our experts can identify the location of your compressed nerves based on your symptoms, including:

Cervical stenosis symptoms

Cervical spinal stenosis compresses one or more nerves in your neck, many of which supply your arms and hands. If the spinal stenosis is in your neck, you might experience shooting pain down your arm, a weak grip, numbness or tingling in your arm and hand, or neck pain. 

Lumbar stenosis symptoms

Lumbar spinal stenosis originates in your lower back, or lumbar spine. Many of the nerves there travel to your legs. Aside from pain in your lower back, lumbar stenosis can cause trouble walking or balancing, leg pain, or leg numbness. 

Lumbar stenosis can also lead to sexual dysfunction for some people or sciatica, a type of pain that radiates down the sciatic nerve along the back of your leg. 

Solutions for your symptoms

Our interventional pain management experts specialize in treating spinal stenosis according to its cause, location, and severity. After thoroughly evaluating your symptoms and overall spinal health, the team typically starts with conservative treatments like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. 

If your symptoms persist, several pain management procedures come next. Our specialists might recommend:

  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD®)

All of these treatments are minimally invasive with little or no downtime so you can return to your day-to-day activities immediately. 

Call our office today or request an appointment online at Pain Management Associates to identify the cause of your spinal stenosis symptoms and to learn more about the advanced spinal treatments we offer.