The spine is a very crucial part of the body. If there is any problem in your spine, living may be very difficult. The spine supports the body by giving the body structure and allows for different types of movements including standing, sitting, and the other different structures that can be attained in the body. The spine also houses the spinal cord that contains the spinal nerves, which help in providing sensations to different parts of the body.
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Spinal stenosis can cause damage to the protective structures housed by the spine. This can lead to serious health conditions including motor weakness, and loss of balance. This can cause changes in the individual’s lifestyle. It is therefore important to get rid of it when it comes.
In this post, you will learn about the meaning of stenosis, the different types of stenosis we have, the meaning of spinal stenosis, types, classification, causes, symptoms, prevention, and some home and natural remedies for spinal stenosis.
What is Stenosis?
Stenosis can be defined as the abnormal narrowing of a bodily passage, canal, and foramina or blood vessels in the body. This narrowing disrupts the normal functioning of the body and may lead to complications if not quickly attended to.
Types of Stenosis
There are numerous types of stenosis in the body. Some of them include:
- Aortic stenosis
- Pulmonary valve stenosis
- Tracheal stenosis
- Renal artery stenosis
- Carotid artery stenosis
- Pyloric stenosis
- Subglottic stenosis
- Esophageal structure
- Urethral stenosis
There are still other types of stenosis in the body in the body but we will be talking about spinal stenosis.
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis can be defined as the abnormal narrowing of the spine spaces or foramen, which can put pressure on the spinal cord thereby compressing it. This majorly affects the cervical region and the lumbar region. Spinal stenosis is more seen in older adults especially those that are 50 years and above. This is often due to the degeneration that happens in the spine as a result of old age.
Types Of Spinal Stenosis
There are two major types of spinal stenosis. They are:
Central Canal Stenosis
Central canal stenosis is when there is a narrowing of the central spinal canal. The spinal canal is formed from the stacking of 33 bones of the spine. Each of the vertebrae contains a hollow surface in the middle, which all come together to form a canal or passageway. When this canal is blocked or narrowed, it compresses the structures that pass through it. The structures include the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. Narrowing this canal can cause pain or dysfunction in the body.
Foramina stenosis is also known as lateral stenosis. As earlier said, the central canal allows for the passage of the spinal nerves. These spinal nerves exit the central canal by passing through the intervertebral foramen. The abnormal narrowing of these intervertebral foramina is known as foramina stenosis. This narrowing causes the compression of the spinal nerves. The compression can occur just before the nerves enter the intervertebral foramen, which is known as lateral Recess Stenosis. The compression can also occur immediately after the nerves pass through the foramen, which is known as lateral stenosis. All these happen as a result of the narrowing of this forming. Foramina stenosis is more common in the lumbar vertebrae, and can also cause pain, or dysfunction in the body.
Classification of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis can be classified based on their locations. There are three major classifications of spinal stenosis. They are:
Cervical Spinal Stenosis
The cervical spine is made up of 7 vertebrae. These vertebrae are located in the neck. The narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs in the region of the neck is known as cervical spinal stenosis. This causes the compression of the spinal cord in this region. This neck compression may affect the upper limb or the arm by causing radiating pain or numbness.
Thoracic Spinal Stenosis
The thoracic spine is made up of 12 vertebrae. These vertebrae are located in the middle back. The narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs at the region of the neck is known as thoracic spinal stenosis. This causes the compression of the spinal cord in this region. Thoracic spinal stenosis is usually rare compared with cervical and lumbar spinal stenosis. Symptoms are usually seen in the back of the lower limb.
Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
The lumbar spine is made up of 5 vertebrae. These vertebrae are located in the lower back. The narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs in the region of the lower back is known as lumbar spinal stenosis. This also causes the compression of the spinal cord in this region. Lumbar stenosis can lead to symptoms radiating to the lower limb which includes the buttocks.
Tandem Spinal Stenosis
Tandem spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal that occurs in two regions of the spine. It usually occurs as a result of the narrowing of the cervical and lumbar vertebrae at the same time in a person. Symptoms affect both the upper and lower limbs.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
The following are the causes of spinal stenosis:
The spinal disc is a gel-like fluid that is enclosed by a thick rubbery pad known as the annulus. It is found between each vertebra. This spinal disc acts as a shock absorber and helps to perform movements such as bending and twisting the spine. The bulging or slipping out of the gel-like fluid from the thick rubbery pads is known as disc herniation or disc rupture. When your disc is herniated, the vertebrae become narrowed, and there is compression of the spinal cord thereby pinching the nerves.
Arthritis Of The Spinal Joint
Arthritis of the spine is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. This usually occurs in the elderly, especially among those that are 50 years and above. Arthritis of the spinal joint is known as the wear and tear that occurs as a result of the degeneration that occurs in the bone due to old age. As we age, weakness sets in, and this weakness can affect the spinal bone by causing the wearing away of the cartilage that surrounds the spinal joint. This then causes the rubbing together of the bone surfaces and can lead to arthritis. Over time, bone spurs develop as a result of arthritis. This is known as a bony lump that grows out of the spinal bone. This bony lump can narrow the spinal canal or foramen leading to spinal stenosis.
Paget’s disease is an abnormal bone remodeling that occurs as a result of the body absorbing old bones and producing an abnormal new bone in any area of the body. This abnormal bone remodeling causes the formation of a weak, deformed, and abnormal bone enlargement, which is due to an overactive osteoclast during the remodeling. Oftentimes, it affects the skull, pelvis, spine, and lower limbs. When there is abnormal bone formation in the spine, there is a narrowing of the spinal canal and foramen, which is called spinal stenosis.
Thickness Of The Ligament
Ligaments are fibers that help in holding together the spine. Over time, these fibers can become thickened and push into the spinal canal causing it to narrow. Hence, spinal stenosis.
Trauma is also a cause of spinal stenosis. Trauma to the spinal bone can cause swelling, fracture, or dislocation. All these can become displaced and block the spinal canal, which leads to spinal stenosis. Examples not traumatic experiences to the spine include car accidents, falls, gunshot wounds, etc.
Tumors are abnormal mass of tissue that occurs as a result of the excessive division of cells or the growth of a cell that is supposed to die. Tumors can be cancerous or not. Tumors cause spinal stenosis when this abnormal mass blocks the central canal of the spine, which makes it narrow, and cause impingement on the spinal nerves.
Congenital Spinal Stenosis
Congenital spinal stenosis occurs when a person is born with a narrow spinal canal. This predisposes the person to the risks associated with those that acquired it such as compression of the spinal cord, etc.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Symptoms of spinal stenosis have different onset. They include the following:
- Gradual or slow onset that just begins gradually.
- Alternating onset in which you will feel the symptoms for a while, and then it disappears again.
- Positional onset, the symptom occurs when a person assumes certain positions such as standing upright or holding the head in an upright position, and is relaxed by resting.
The following are the symptoms of spinal stenosis
- Problem with balance
- Incontinence (Bladder problems)
Prevention of Spinal Stenosis
The following are the ways by which spinal stenosis can be prevented
Maintain A healthy Weight
It is important to maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight places a load on your joints, and this increases the chance of early bone wear and tear known as osteoarthritis. The normal body mass index is between 18.5 – 25.9. If you are not an athlete and you have a BMI that is above this value, you need to watch your weight.
One of the ways by which spinal stenosis can be prevented is by doing regular exercises. Exercises are very good for the body and should be part of your routine activities. Exercises help to strengthen your back muscles, provide endurance, and also flexibility to your spine. You can practice flexibility exercises by stretching stiff muscles and also aerobic exercises such as cycling, walking, dancing, swimming, etc. This will help you to prevent spinal stenosis.
Practice Good Lifting Techniques
To protect your spine, it is important to practice the correct lifting technique when you want to lift heavy objects. Do not lift objects by bending forward. When you want to lift, your feet should be wide apart with one leg in front of the other, then you squat, ensure that your head and back are straight, then slowly lift the load and keep it close to you, you can then move your feet by taking it one step at a time. This will prevent trauma from carrying loads.
Home Remedies For Spinal Stenosis
The following are the home remedies for spinal stenosis:
Correct Your Poor Posture
Correcting your posture to the right form when sitting, standing, sleeping, etc helps to reduce the force placed on the intervertebral disc as a result of poor posture.
When you feel start feeling the pain from spinal stenosis, you can slowly take a deep breath and hold it for a few minutes, then slowly exhale too. This helps to relieve the pain you feel.
When you have spinal stenosis, it is important to reduce Stress. Performing strenuous activities creates tension in your back muscles, and makes you experience more pain. It is, therefore, necessary to relieve
Eating a healthy diet, particularly food rich in Omega-3 and vegetables helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle by reducing overweight which causes pressure on the spine. Omega 3 fatty acid sources such as fish also have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps to reduce inflammation in the spine.
Ice can be used on the region of the spine when you feel pain. Place the ice cubes in a towel and place them on the region for about 15 minutes. This will numb the pain.
Tumeric can also be used to relieve the symptoms produced by spinal stenosis. It contains curcumin which has an anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect, which can help the spine.
The above measures should reduce or eliminate the symptoms felt. However, if the home remedies for spinal stenosis do not improve or reduce the symptoms felt, It is important to consult your doctor for appropriate measures.
What are Home Remedies Best for Spinal Stenosis?
Home remedies for spinal stenosis include rest, heat and cold therapy, acetaminophen, and massage.
What Foods Can Counter the Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
Maintaining healthy eating habits is crucial since diet plays a critical role in spinal stenosis. Try to include the following foods frequently in your daily diet: cooked green beans or peas, cooked lima beans, cooked kidney beans, cooked cauliflower, cooked broccoli, cooked lettuce, etc.
What Non-Surgical Treatments are Best for Spinal Stenosis?
Spinal Stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal) is a common and often painful condition, affecting 80% of people over 50, and up to 70% of people over 80. The narrowing of the spinal canal can lead to limited mobility, pain, and weakness. Non-Surgical Treatments for spinal stenosis include physical therapy, exercise, and medications.
The information contained in this post is for educational purposes only. Always consult your primary care doctor before using the remedies that are provided. The information is provided by The Hidden Cures and while we do timely, in-depth research on the information that we provide to you, everything stated may not be up to date or accurate from the time it was written.