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An Introduction to Spinal Stenosis

Dr. Daniel Batlan

Dr. Daniel Batlan is founder and medical director of Specialized Pain Management in Henderson near Las Vegas, Nevada (NV). There, Dr. Daniel Batlan, MD, treats a variety of back pain conditions, including spinal stenosis.

The human spine consists of a stacked sequence of vertebrae, which contain bony structures and projections that surround and support the spinal canal. The spinal canal is responsible for protecting not only the spinal cord but also the nerves that branch out from it, passing through gaps known as neuro-formamen to reach the rest of the body.
A healthy spinal canal has plenty of room for the spinal cord and nerves. However, as an individual grows older and reaches his or her 50s and beyond, degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis lead to the growth of bone spurs that constrict this space and put pressure on the spinal cord and adjacent nerves. In other cases, this compression occurs due to herniated discs, injuries, or tumors near the spine.
Regardless of cause, pressure on the spinal cord and nerves typically leads to pain in the affected area of the spine. The patient also may experience weakness, numbness, or discomfort in the arms or legs. If the stenosis is in the lumbar spine close to the sciatic nerve, symptoms may include pain that radiates down the leg.
Physicians typically begin the treatment of spinal stenosis with medical interventions, such as anti-inflammatory medications, nerve blocks, or corticosteroid injections. Exercise may be a component of the treatment plan as well. If patients do not respond to these noninvasive or minimally invasive treatments, or if symptoms are particularly severe and interfere significantly with function, surgery may be necessary to remove interfering structural elements and re-create space in the spinal canal.

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