Treatments & Surgery
California Neurosurgergical Institute
Encino CA, Valencia CA, Bakersfield CA.
Spinal stenosis typically begins in older age as degenerative conditions cause a narrowing of your spinal canal.
These conditions lead to pain and dysfunction, but the expert team at California Neurosurgical Institute can help with their board-certified expertise in treating the causes of spinal stenosis.
The world-class skills of the neurosurgeons at California Neurosurgical Institute could help reduce back pain and restore normal function, so if you live in or near Bakersfield, Encino, or Valencia, California, call today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Spinal Stenosis Q & A
What is spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis is a result of wear and tear that causes the spinal canal to become narrower. This narrowing reduces the space for your spinal cord.
If there’s not enough room for the nerves in and around your spinal cord, they come under pressure and start to cause pain and other problems.
The degenerative changes that cause spinal stenosis are often due to osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis affects the facet joints in your spine, causing them to lose their protective cartilage, so they start rubbing bone against bone.
The resulting inflammation prompts your body to produce bone spurs in an attempt to reinforce the affected facet joints, but these bone spurs can make the narrowing problem even worse.
As well as the facet joints degenerating, the discs in between your vertebrae deteriorate with age. They get flatter and stiffer, which alters the alignment of your spine.
The weak outer layer of the discs can let the interior of the disc through, resulting in a herniated disc that also causes narrowing of the spinal canal. The ligaments in this part of your back also tend to thicken, adding to the constriction in your spinal canal.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
A common symptom of spinal stenosis is a pain in your lower back, hips, buttocks, and one or both legs. This is called neurogenic claudication and results from there being a lack of room for your nerves.
Spinal stenosis can cause other symptoms in your legs, including:
- Feeling of heaviness
Most often, these symptoms are worse when you’re walking or moving, easing off when you sit down. If you lean forward, this can ease the symptoms further.
What treatments are there for spinal stenosis?
The team at California Neurosurgical Institute uses conservative therapies to treat spinal stenosis initially. Most patients respond well to a treatment program consisting of:
- Physical therapy
- Stretching exercises
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Steroid injections
In some cases, spinal stenosis doesn’t improve using these techniques. If this happens in your case, your provider at California Neurosurgical Institute can go through the surgical options with you.
The main surgical option for spinal stenosis is laminectomy. The lamina is a part of your vertebrae that forms the spinal canal.
A laminectomy involves removing all the tissues that are pressing on your spinal nerves. You can also have spinal fusion at the same time as your laminectomy if your spine needs stabilizing.
Other procedures and techniques used to treat spinal stenosis include:
- Medial facetectomy
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
- Transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- Posterolateral fusion
- Instrumented fusion
The team at California Neurosurgical Institute has expertise in carrying out laminectomy and other procedures using minimally invasive techniques.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of spinal stenosis, call California Neurosurgical Institute today, or book an appointment online.