Spinal stenosis symptoms can vary from patient to patient and might range in severity from non-existent to relentless. In and of itself, spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) does not typically cause pain or discomfort. However, when the condition leads to the compression of the spinal cord or a nerve root, patients can experience pain, muscle weakness, tingling and/or numbness.
Location of symptoms
The location of a patient’s spinal stenosis symptoms will vary depending on which region of the spine is affected:
- Cervical spine (neck) – Neck, upper back, shoulders, and/or arms
- Thoracic spine (middle back) – Middle back, ribs, torso, and/or inner organs
- Lumbar spine (lower back) – Lower back, hips, buttocks, and/or legs
Since the cervical and lumbar regions of the spine are considerably more flexible and are responsible for supporting more bodyweight than the thoracic region, these areas are more prone to stenosis.
Most patients are able to alleviate the symptoms of spinal stenosis through the use of conservative, non-surgical treatments. This typically includes the use of medication (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics, muscle relaxants, etc.), physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications (losing weight, becoming more active, quitting smoking, etc.) when necessary. Some patients choose to complement their physician-prescribed treatments with alternative therapies such as acupuncture, chiropractic manipulation or deep tissue massage, among others. The patient’s physician should always be informed before any alternative therapies are utilized.
Laser Spine Institute
A physician might recommend surgery for those who find little to no relief from their spinal stenosis symptoms after following a conservative treatment regimen for several weeks or months. Laser Spine Institute offers effective alternatives to open spine surgery that allow 80 percent of patients to return to work within three months of their procedures. Contact us to learn more and to schedule your initial consultation.