The spine is composed of the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), and lumbar (lower back) regions. Each region has uniquely shaped bones known as vertebrae. When the twenty-four vertebrae perfectly align, they form a structure known as the spinal canal. The spinal canal has the important jobs of protecting the spinal cord and allowing it to branch out to innervate the muscles and organs of the body.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
The narrowing of the spinal canal and resulting compression of the spinal cord or spinal nerves is referred to Spinal Stenosis. Typically caused by arthritis, this condition is a common cause of spine and/or extremity pain. The symptoms of Spinal Stenosis include the following:
- Sciatica (burning pain in the buttocks and/or legs)
- Extremity tingling, numbness, and/or weakness
Illustration 1- Spinal Stenosis
3 Non-Surgical Treatments for Spinal Stenosis
When the findings of a complete medical history, thorough physical examination, and medical imaging studies lead to a diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis, patients are given a treatment plan that may include the following non-surgical and minimally invasive treatment options:
- Physical therapy. Muscle imbalances can cause the spine to favor certain positions and movements. When left uncorrected and when coupled with arthritis, muscle imbalances can change the shape of the spine and cause Spinal Stenosis. Physical therapy is an effective treatment option that relieves the symptoms by stretching and strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support the spine.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). When the spinal cord or nerve roots are compressed due to Spinal Stenosis, they become irritated and inflamed. This causes symptoms that range from mild to severe. In order to treat inflammation and alleviate symptoms, over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications known as NSAIDs may be taken orally. Common NSAIDs include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, and Naprosyn), and celecoxib (Celebrex).
- Corticosteroid injections. Fast acting symptom relief can occur when powerful anti-inflammatory medications known as corticosteroids are injected into an area of the spine that is affected by Spinal Stenosis. Injections are typically used in conjunction with physical therapy to ensure long lasting symptom relief.
2 Minimally Invasive Surgery Options for Spinal Stenosis
If the symptoms of spinal stenosis do not improve with the use of these treatment options, an Orthopedic Spine Specialist may recommend one of the following minimally invasive surgical procedures:
4. A Minimally Invasive Laminectomy. Arthritic bone and soft tissue that is causing Spinal Stenosis are surgically removed. The spinal cord or nerves are decompressed and symptoms are eliminated.
5. A Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion. If there is instability of the spine in addition to Stenosis, a fusion may be indicated. Arthritic bone and soft tissue are removed and replaced with an implant filled with bone graft. Over time, bone graft and existing bone fuse to form a single, solid bone to eliminate the instability.
Seeking Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of Spinal Stenosis, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices to arrange an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Spine Specialists. We have locations in Glen Rock and Maywood, NJ.
The spine specialists at New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery treat conditions of the cervical and lumbar spine using both non-surgical and surgical modalities. New Jersey Spinal Medicine and Surgery is led by Dr. Dante Implicito and Dr. John Koerner. Both physicians have extensive training and experience in the utilization of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery techniques as well as non-surgical techniques. Our doctors are regarded as New Jersey’s leading experts in Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery.
Once your condition has been evaluated and diagnosed, a treatment plan will be made. If a nerve decompression is recommended, you’ll be given all the information you need to make a decision that’s right for you. Remember, the road to recovery starts when you walk through our doors.