Lumbar Spine pain Relief
Spinal stenosis is a disorder that is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing happens as a result of the degeneration of both the facet joints and the intervertebral discs. In this condition, bone spurs (also called osteophytes) grow into the spinal canal. The facet joints also enlarge as they become arthritic, which contributes to a decrease in the space available for the nerve roots. This condition is known as facet arthropathy.
The ligaments of the spinal column, especially the ligamentum flavum, become stiff, less flexible, and thicker with age, which also contributes to spinal stenosis. These processes narrow the spinal canal and may begin to impinge and put pressure on the nerve roots and spinal cord, creating the symptoms of spinal stenosis.
Stenosis may occur in the central spinal canal (central stenosis) where the spinal cord or cauda equina are located, in the tract where the nerve root exits the central canal (lateral recess stenosis), or in the lateral foramen (foraminal stenosis) where the individual nerve roots exit out to the body.
Some distortion of the spinal canal will occur in virtually every person as they age, but the severity of the symptoms will depend on the size of a person's spinal canal and the encroachment on the nerves. The rate of deterioration varies greatly from person to person, and not everyone will feel weakness or pain.
What Causes Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis may be caused by a number of processes that decrease the amount of space in the spinal canal available for the nerves. Degenerative causes are the most common, but stenosis can occur in individuals who were born with a spinal canal smaller than normal (congenital stenosis) or have rare conditions such as tumors and metabolic conditions.
What Are the Symptoms?
The reason why stenosis causes weakness and pain is the subject of a significant amount of debate and medical research. Pain in the buttocks or leg, which is a common symptom of lumbar spinal stenosis, may be associated with the compression of the microvascular structures carrying blood flow to the nerve roots. At the same time, the symptoms of spinal stenosis may be the direct result of physical compression of the nerve roots. Each of these processes may interfere with the normal function of the nerve roots and decrease the effectiveness and endurance of the spinal nerves.
Some people with degenerative disease of the spine may have no symptoms at all, some may complain of mild discomfort in the lower back, and others may not even be able to walk. In people who have significant spinal stenosis, they will begin to notice pain in the buttocks, thigh or leg that develops with standing or walking, and improves with rest. In some cases, a person will complain of leg pain and weakness without having any back pain.