Understand Lumbar Spinal Stenosis to Its Core!
You might have to wonder about Spinal Stenosis! Isn’t it? It maybe possible you may not be familiar with the word before but in this blog, I have given a complete insight of spinal stenosis to cover every small part related to it.
Let’s get an overview
Firstly, I am telling you about spinal scoliosis lower back i.e., the lumbar spine is made up of 5 large bones. Between these bones, there are soft pads known as discs. Each one has a hole, which gives the bones the shape of a pipe. This hole between the bones acts as a pathway to the spinal nerves. When this hole starts to thin, it is called lumbar canal stenosis. As a result, there is pressure on the nerves going from the lower back to the feet.
Let’s talk about spinal and lumbar spinal stenosis!
In my career, I mostly see the problem of spinal stenosis affects the young population due to birth-related reasons, and 50 or older people are also more impacted by this problem. The disc thickness decreases with increasing age, due to which the disc becomes smaller and harder. Financial Express states that currently, approximately 4 lakh Indians over the age of 60 suffer from symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, and around 12-15 lakh Indians suffer from some form of spinal stenosis.
Let’s understand the symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis:
If I talk about symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, it depends on the severity of the condition. However, its symptoms do not appear on their own but due to the swelling caused by the pressure on the veins. Its symptoms may vary from person to person:
- Pain, weakness, or numbness in the legs, buttocks, and calf.
- Pain may occur in one or both legs (this problem is called sciatica).
- In some cases, the legs stop working and there is no control over the patient’s excreta.
- Awful pain while walking which aggravates when bending the legs, sitting, or lying down.
There are two further conditions related to lumbar spinal stenosis, known as degenerative spondylolisthesis and degenerative scoliosis.
What about diagnosis of lumbar spinal stenosis?
Physical examination and lab tests based on medical history, symptoms, and genetic risk are required to confirm the disease. Radiology tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs help identify the outline of joints. These imaging techniques help the surgeon to visualize the entire outline of the spinal canal.
3D imaging through MRI is also helpful in analyzing the roots of the veins, surrounding areas, any inflammation, degeneration or tumors, etc. In some cases, a myelogram may be required, which is a special type of X-ray for the spine. This X-ray is performed after injecting contrast material into the surrounding cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). It is helpful in monitoring pressure, slipped discs, bone bruises, or tumors in the spinal cord or associated veins.
Know move forward towards treatment of lumbar spinal stenosis
According to me medication and physical therapy are the first options for treating this disease. If even after this, there is no improvement in the patient, then surgery is necessary.
Medication and injection
Anti-inflammatory medication and analgesics are helpful to reduce pain in the early stages. But if the pain is not getting better with time or is becoming severe, then I may recommend other medicines or injections to the patient. Epidural injections are also helpful in reducing pain and inflammation but are only effective for a short period.
Physical therapy with certain exercises helps to stabilize your spine and make it flexible and strong. Therapy helps normalize your lifestyle and physical activities.
Several types of surgical procedures are available to treat this disease. I only selected based on the severity of the patient’s condition. In very rare patients, spine fusion may be required and this is usually decided before surgery. Spinal fusion is an operation that brings two or more vertebrae closer. This process helps in stabilizing and strengthening the spine, so it can also cure severe or chronic pain.
There are many other types of surgeries including spinal fusion for treating lumbar spinal stenosis and related problems such as-
Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF): In this, the degenerative disc is ejected through the lower abdomen. Bone material or bone-filled metal device is suspended in the disk paces.
Foraminotomy: This surgery helps to enlarge the bone gates. This surgery can be performed without or with a laminectomy.
Laminotomy: Openings are made in the lamina to reduce the pressure of the roots of the veins.
Laparoscopic Spinal Fusion: This is a minimally invasive procedure, in which a small cut is placed in the lower abdomen. This cut causes the grafts in the disk to be deferred.
Medial vasectomy: Through this procedure, the fast (bone structure in the canal of the spine) is removed to increase the space.
Hope this has worked well for you! If you have any doubts do drop me your doubts in comment section! I’ll soon reply to your queries.