Kamal R. Woods, MD, MBA, FAANS
Neurosurgeon located in Miamisburg, OH
Up to 95% of men and women notice some degenerative changes in their back by age 50. For some, those changes result in spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal column. At Vertrae® in Dayton, Ohio, Kamal Woods, MD, MBA, FAANS, diagnoses and treats spinal stenosis to alleviate pain and numbness caused by the condition. To find out if spinal stenosis is causing your pain, call your nearest office or book an appointment online today.
Spinal Stenosis Q & A
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spinal column within your vertebrae narrows and constricts, placing pressure on the spinal cord within it. The narrowing happens slowly over time and can appear anywhere along your back.
There are two main types of spinal stenosis:
Cervical stenosis is a form of the condition that appears in your neck or cervical spine.
Lumbar stenosis is the most common form of spinal stenosis. It appears in your lower back, or lumbar spine.
What causes spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is generally caused by wear-and-tear in your tissues, bones, and joints that often shows up and worsens as you age. Your tissues start to thicken or become inflamed as you age and your bones follow suit.
Other common causes of the narrowing include:
- Birth defects
- A naturally narrow spinal column
- Paget’s disease
- Herniated discs
In any case, spinal stenosis most often affects patients over age 50. If you don’t immediately know the cause, Dr. Woods at Vertrae® may order imaging to identify it.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
The two main types of spinal stenosis cause different symptoms. If you have cervical stenosis, you may have:
- Numbness in your limbs
- Weakness in your limbs
- Neck pain
- Trouble walking
- Trouble balancing
If you have lumbar stenosis, you might experience:
- Numbness in your feet or legs
- Weakness in your feet or legs
- Cramping in your legs
- Back pain
Many of these symptoms diminish when you sit down and worsen when you stand or walk. If you don’t get treatment, you could have long-lasting symptoms and complications like incontinence or paralysis.
What are treatment options for spinal stenosis?
After diagnosing your spinal stenosis with a physical exam, imaging techniques, or both, Dr. Woods creates a treatment strategy to ease the symptoms of your condition.
He may recommend or prescribe pain medications, physical therapy, or injections first before progressing to surgery. If it comes to surgery, this common condition can often be treated with a less than 1-inch incision.
Dr. Woods sometimes uses ultrasound to treat spinal stenosis, which is a potentially safer technique than other traditional methods for certain patients.
Other surgical options include:
A laminectomy is the most common surgery for spinal stenosis. Dr. Woods makes a small incision in your back through which he removes bone spurs and other parts of the vertebrae to create adequate space for your nerves.
During this procedure, Dr. Woods expands the hole in your vertebrae where the nerve roots exit, called the foramen.
To find out more about spinal stenosis or get a diagnosis and start treatment, call Vertrae® or book an appointment online today.