What Is Spinal Stenosis?

Photo: Back Pain

Back and neck pain are, unfortunately, familiar problems for many people. Herniated discs are one of the most common conditions, but it’s not the only issue that can cause discomfort and difficulty performing certain activities. Spinal stenosis is another prevalent disorder that often affects people over the age of 50. Our board certified orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. Michael Dolphin, treats individuals with spinal stenosis regularly, and there are a number of non-surgical and minimally invasive options available to address this concern.

Often caused by spinal arthritis, spinal stenosis is a condition wherein the spinal canal – the opening that runs through the center of the spinal column – narrows. This contraction is often due to thickened ligaments and bone spurs, which can develop as a complication of arthritis. When the spinal canal becomes smaller, the spinal cord and nerve roots can become pinched, leading to radiating pain in one or both legs (or arms, if affecting the neck), neck or low back pain, and numbness or tingling in the extremities.

Over-the-counter pain medication and physical therapy may provide relief of the symptoms, but currently there is no cure for spinal stenosis. Minimally invasive techniques, such as laminotomy, laminectomy, discectomy, and fusion, may be recommended for certain patients who find non-surgical treatment ineffective. Dr. Dolphin can develop a customized treatment plan that best addresses your concerns during your initial consultation.