The spine consists of 33 vertebrae: 7 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 4 coccygeal. The spine has natural curves known as kyphosis and lordosis. These curves are important to help balance the body and for humans to stand upright. in the spine, there are small spaces that allow the nerves to travel in and out the spinal column. Spinal stenosis occurs when these spaces become narrow and increases the pressure on the nerves that travel through the vertebral column. It is most commonly caused by changes in the spine due to wear and tear and is associated with osteoarthritis.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to free the entrapped nerves for pain relief and return to mobility. The two main types of spinal stenosis is classified based on the location: cervical stenosis (in the neck) and lumbar stenosis (in the lower back). While many patients have stenosis seen on medical imaging such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan, not all patients experience symptoms. Symptoms of spinal stenosis have a gradual onset and worsen over time. The symptoms also vary depending on the location and nerves affected.
Spinal Stenosis Symptom #1: Difficulty Walking
One of the commonest symptoms for spinal stenosis is difficulty or pain during walking. This pain can be felt in the leg. This is a condition that is known as pseudo claudication where the pain begins and worsens during activity and is alleviated at rest. Due to the increased pain, the daily routines of patients with spinal stenosis are affected. Their activity level diminishes.
Depending on the location and severity of the spinal stenosis, the significance of your pain may vary. Some methods that may help include physical therapy, changes in posture, and seeing a chiropractor or acupuncturist may be helpful. Severe cases may require surgery.