Board Certified Neurosurgeon & Spine Surgeon located in Portland, OR
Your chances of developing spinal stenosis get higher over the years as age-related degenerative diseases affect your spine. At Portland Neurosurgery, in Portland, Oregon, Jeffrey Johnson, MD, develops customized treatment plans beginning with conservative therapies to relieve your pain and restore mobility. Don’t keep struggling with pain when solutions are available. Schedule an appointment by calling the office or using the convenient online booking form today.
What causes spinal stenosis?
The spinal cord travels through an opening in the center of each vertebrae. This opening, called the spinal canal, protects your nerves with a ring of bone. There are also smaller bony openings at each level of your spine, called foramen, which allow individual nerve roots to exit the spine.
Spinal stenosis occurs when one or more of the openings in the spinal canal narrows. This problem may develop after a spinal injury, but it most often develops due to spinal problems such as:
- Herniated disc
- Facet joint arthritis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Vertebral bone spurs
- Thickened spinal ligaments
- Slipped vertebrae
A slipped vertebra narrows the opening by misaligning the spine. These other conditions cause stenosis as they protrude into the spinal canal.
What symptoms develop if I have spinal stenosis?
The underlying problem can cause pain on its own. The conditions that cause spinal stenosis also pinch the spinal nerves. As a result, you may experience:
- Pain in your neck or back
- Pain that radiates down your arms or legs
- Tingling or numbness in your arms or legs
- Weakness or tiredness in your arms or legs
- Leg cramps
- Hand weakness
- Difficulty walking and balancing
Even though spinal stenosis can affect your neck (cervical spine), it most often develops in your lower back.
How is spinal stenosis treated?
Treatment for spinal stenosis begins with therapies such as pain medications, physical therapy, and activity modification. If you need more pain relief, Dr. Johnson may refer you to have a steroid injection to reduce inflammation.
If your pain persists or gets worse, Dr. Johnson may recommend spinal surgery or a spinal cord stimulator.
Dr. Johnson can often perform surgery to correct the cause of your spinal stenosis. He may remove a bone spur, decompress the nerves, or take out a damaged disc, for example, but each surgery is unique to the individual.
After these types of procedures (depending on the scenario), a spinal fusion or an artificial disc replacement is sometimes necessary to maintain spinal stability.
Spinal cord stimulator
If you have persistent back pain and a direct surgical approach is not an option for you, you may be a good candidate for spinal cord stimulation using a dorsal column stimulator.
This treatment begins with a trial stimulator to determine if this therapy would be beneficial to you. If you find this trial helps reduce your pain then a surgery can be performed to place a permanent lead with metal electrodes in the spinal canal and a battery can be placed under the skin.
The electrode, which you turn on and off with a remote control device, sends small electrical impulses into the spinal cord. The impulses block the nerves senfding pain signals to your brain, sometimes significantly alleviating your pain.
If you need relief from the pain of spinal stenosis or chronic back pain, call Portland Neurosurgery or schedule an appointment online.