Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spine canal causing pressure to the spinal cord or the openings where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. Depending on the affected nerves, spinal stenosis can cause numbness (some may experience a tingling) or a pain in the legs, back, shoulders or arms. Many have been known to experience cramping, numbing or pain in their thighs, calves or neck or a weakness in a portion of the arm or leg.
Symptoms tend to be most apparent when walking or standing. Leaning forward, stretching and sitting can alleviate pain and discomfort. More serious symptoms of spinal stenosis include difficulty walking, problems urinating or producing a bowel movement and problems controlling urine or bowel movements.
Spinal stenosis is typically apparent as a person ages (usually 40 and older) and the disks start to shrink and become drier while the bones and ligaments of the spine swell or grow larger as a result of inflammation or arthritis. Infection and birth defects can sometimes cause spinal stenosis, as well. Other causes include:
- Thickened ligaments – the thickening can also narrow the spinal canal and compress nervous tissue.
- Osteoarthritis – joints in your spine can deteriorate over time. To repair damage the body may produce bone spurs that can narrow the spinal passages.
- Spinal injuries – often times this is a result of a car accident or other major trauma. .
- Spinal tumors – enlarging tumors can compress the spinal cord and nerve root.
- Paget’s disease of the bone – with this disease your body produces bone at a faster rate. If bones are deformed or abnormally large it can reduce the amount of space available in the spinal canal.
There are several natural remedies for relieving pain associated with spinal stenosis:
- Rest: This is the most obvious of the remedies. Take a load off. Give your body time to heal and recover.
- Apply hot and cold compresses: Start with a cold compress or a bag of ice wrapped in a towel and apply compress to affected area. Leave the compress on the area for 20 minutes to reduce the swelling which can be a cause of pain. Immediately after the cold compress follow up with a hot compress to the same area. Try the heating pad available through the Healthy Back Institute. This heating pad uses infrared heat to penetrate deep into your body to relieve the pain.
- Anti-inflammatory: Try an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofens Advil and Motrin to reduce swelling.
- Massage: Kick your shoes off and enjoy a nice long massage. A massage can relax the affected area and remove tension while offering a healthy dose of relaxation.
Other common treatments include corticosteroid injections that can also reduce swelling, drugs such as non-steroidical anti-inflammatory drugs and Tylenol and restricted movement. Ultrasounds, electrical stimulation and therapeutic exercises to control pain, improve balance and build strength and endurance are recommended too.
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