Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

Symptoms of spinal stenosis range from mild irritation upon certain movements to chronic, persistent pain, numbness, weakness, and disability. Symptoms of this narrowing of the spinal canal often begin as an intermittent pain that gradually starts to linger for longer. Initially, this acute, but low-level pain, may only occur when the spine is twisted or bent forward or backwards and early spinal stenosis symptoms are frequently relieved by lying down, sitting, or flexing forward. Progression of spinal stenosis makes these pain-relief techniques less effective over time and patients will need to find different spinal stenosis treatment for pain in the neck or back in order to manage daily pain symptoms. Sudden onset of apparent spinal stenosis necessitates a trip to the doctor for proper symptom diagnosis.

Spinal stenosis diagnosis typically involves:

  • MRI scan or CT scans
  • X-Rays to detect the growth of bone spurs
  • Physical Exam

What are the warning signs

The onset of spinal stenosis symptoms may be gradual due to general wear and tear, calcification of spinal ligaments, muscle degeneration, degenerative disc disease, or bone problems such as osteoporosis causing the spine to compress and spondylolisthesis (spinal slippage and curvature) to occur. Symptoms of spinal stenosis may also appear suddenly if there is acute trauma to the spine through a fall, whiplash, sports injury, or blunt-force trauma. Inflammation in the spinal column resulting from trauma may make spinal stenosis symptoms worse initially and then subside as the swelling goes down. During periods of inflammation there is the possibility of serious nerve damage however and patients should seek medical help to reduce the possibility of permanent nerve problems after an acute injury.

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