Spinal stenosis occurs with the gradual aging of the structures of the spine, leading to narrowing of the spinal column, causing a variety of symptoms.
Spinal stenosis typically develops very slowly as we age, usually occurring after the age of fifty. However, there are cases where curvature of the spine (scoliosis, kyphosis, lordosis) or congenital factors may lead to spinal stenosis in younger individuals.
The majority of cases of spinal stenosis occur in the lower or lumbar spine. Slippage and misalignment of the vertebrae, known as spondylolisthesis, can also be a cause of spinal stenosis. The most common symptom of spinal stenosis is cramping or arching in the calves. As the condition advances, it becomes increasingly difficult to stand or walk due to the intensity of the resulting leg pain.
Understanding the range of spinal stenosis symptoms is key. While spinal stenosis can develop any where within the spinal column, it most often occurs in the lumbar spine and sometimes, the cervical spine. The location and severity of spinal stenosis determines the type of symptoms you may develop and how it is treated.
Common symptoms include:
- Cramping or aching in the calves that impairs walking
- Tingling, numbness, neuropathy, or pain that radiates from the low back into the buttocks and legs
- Neck and low back pain
- Pain numbness, neuropathy, tingling or cramping in the arms
- Weakness in the arms or legs
For 15 years, my life has been controlled by my back pain due to spinal stenosis. My spinal stenosis was so debilitating I couldn’t walk upright, had to hunch over with my knees bent, and shuffle my feet anytime I moved around. Throughout the day, it would get progressively worse, and most often by the end of the day, I would be unable to walk even a few short steps without stopping to hunch over my cane. After taking oral medication for years to help ease the pain, my doctor suggested I was a good candidate for Vertiflex. The entire staff was always patient with me, never made me feel rushed, and answered all my questions competently. On the same day as my procedure, I felt IMMEDIATE relief as I left the surgery center and was able to walk completely upright into my house without zero medication for the first time in years! Since my procedure six weeks ago, my life has changed completely. I now feel like I am back to my old self – I can go to the grocery store, effortlessly walk up and down stairs, and walk leisurely for exercise. I can now enjoy time with my grandchildren and play around with them. I am now regaining strength in my back and leg muscles through continued physical therapy twice a week. The physical therapist has been strengthening muscles I hadn’t been using for years due to my spinal stenosis and overcompensation from other muscle groups. CPC's physical therapy team are confident and skillful while also providing a warm, encouraging environment in the PT clinic, leading to maximum comfort for patients. They know my body’s boundaries and do not push me to the limit or rush me. I consider CPC my superhero for the rest of my life because he has totally cured me of my perpetual back pain from spinal stenosis. The entire staff at Colorado Pain Care, from authorizing my insurance to checking me out of the clinic, has been absolutely amazing in customer service and care. I want someone reading this to know there is hope out there for back pain and spinal stenosis, even if you are 80 years old like me! There are amazing people at CPC ready and willing to help you! Thank you to the whole team at Colorado Pain Care!
Proper diagnosis starts with an experienced pain management clinician. The type of pain you may have with spinal stenosis can be similar to the symptoms of several types of disorders. Accurately determining the correct source of your pain is critical to successful treatment. Schedule your initial consultation today with one of our doctors to find relief from your spinal stenosis!