Central Lumbar Stenosis and Chiropractic in Perry Hall

Perry Hall Chiropractic & Physical Therapy in Perry Hall MD

Chiropractors treat pain

There are two different types of spinal stenosis commonly found in the lumbar (low back) spinal region. This article will focus on central (or sometimes referred to as canal stenosis) of the lumbar spine and central stenosis of the cervical (neck) spine will have to be addressed in a separate article.

It is important to understand the biomechanical mechanisms behind each type of lumbar stenosis because they are treated differently. Central stenosis involves a narrowing of the spinal canal that transverses the spinal vertebrae and is the "hole" where the spinal cord travels from the brain to the lower regions of the spine. Many different things can cause this "hole" to narrow.

Narrowing of the spinal canal may result from congenital narrowing of the spinal canal because you were born with a small "hole "that makes up your spinal canal, degenerative changes such as bony spurs, ligament thickening, or disc bulges that occur in most of us as we age can result in narrowing.

Symptoms accompanying central spinal stenosis may include low back pain, leg pain, or difficulty walking for anything but very short distances. If walking a short distance causes pain that is relieved by leaning forward for a few moments then central lumbar spinal stenosis should be suspected and ruled out by your local Doctor of Chiropractic.

The second type of spinal stenosis occurs at the lateral recess of the spinal column where the peripheral nerves are affected. This type of spinal stenosis often results in arm or leg pain. In making a diagnosis, it must be determined if spinal stenosis is central or lateral so each can be treated properly.

It is very important to understand that back pain alone is not sufficient to make a diagnosis of central spinal stenosis. Nor should such a diagnosis be based solely on MRI or other imaging findings. The appearance of symptoms such as pain or tingling in the lower extremities while walking and is relieved by bending forward, sitting, or lying down is necessary for establishing a diagnosis of central spinal stenosis.

This is not a small, isolated problem because it is estimated that over 65 million people will be afflicted with this condition and surgery for it is becoming more prevalent. If there is any good news to come of this it is that surgery is not the only option and conservative care such as chiropractic may be a better choice of treatment.

For instance, one study found that people with severe symptoms caused by spinal stenosis achieved much better results from conservative care than those who chose surgery. It is also encouraging to note that in another study the patients with spinal stenosis remained stable in 70 percent of the cases, 15 percent improved, while only 15 percent worsened.

It is always good policy to begin with conservative treatments such as chiropractic care and only resort to surgery as a last choice in care options. Patients must have realistic expectations because spinal stenosis is a serious condition with lateral stenosis often having a much better outlook for major improvements than central stenosis. So, contact your local Doctor of Chiropractic in Perry Hall and see if you or a loved one suffering from stenosis can begin heading in the right direction before it progresses past the point of no return.

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