What is spinal stenosis?
The spinal cord runs through a continuous opening throughout the spinal column. This canal has various diameters throughout the spine, and the cord is somewhat flexible to these varying diameters. When something, such as a bulging disc or a bone spur, intrudes on the space of the spinal cord, spinal stenosis occurs. Spinal stenosis is most commonly seen in individuals over 50 years of age in which degenerative changes in the vertebrae and intervertebral disc are very common. If these changes occur in the bony structures surrounding the spinal canal, the spinal cord may get compressed and can lead to a condition known as myelopathy. Stenosis may also be developmental, with defects in the spine becoming more pronounced throughout life.
What are symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Impingement of the spinal cord will often cause some noticeable symptoms. Depending on where the stenosis occurs, muscle weakness and shooting pains in the arms or legs may be noted. These symptoms may be increased with movement in certain directions.
Conservative treatment with chiropractic care can often prevent progression of the disorder as well as help to control symptoms. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to protect the spinal cord from further compromise.