Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas of the spine, most often in the neck or lower back. This narrowing can put pressure on the spinal cord or spinal nerves at the level of compression. Pain is not always present, particularly if there is spinal stenosis in the neck. Depending on which nerves are affected, spinal stenosis can cause:
- Limb weakness and loss of coordination
- Loss of sensation in the extremities
- Pain or numbness in the legs, back, neck, shoulders or arms
- Problems with bladder or bowel function
Why Choose Us?
- For nearly a decade, our team of specially trained physicians has performed hundreds of minimally invasive spine surgeries
- Sharp Memorial Hospital is one of the few hospitals in San Diego that performs minimally invasive spine surgery
- We use the latest, state-of-the-art surgical technology, including Nuvasive®, which usually results in shorter operative time and hospital stay, less pain and scarring and faster recovery for patients
- We are committed to providing a patient-centered experience by treating each patient with personal, expert care and developing a treatment plan specially-designed for each patient
Treatment for Mild Stenosis
Spinal stenosis is commonly caused by age-related changes in the spine. If the spinal stenosis is mild, these treatment options may help:
Surgery for Stenosis
- Injecting cortisone next to the spine can reduce swelling of the spinal nerves and nerve roots (relief is usually temporary so steroid injections may be needed more than once a year)
- Medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can reduce the pain and swelling
- Physical therapy to strengthen the back and stomach muscles and increase flexibility of the spine
- Therapeutic massage
In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves. Some people are candidates for minimally invasive surgery
, which can result in less pain and quicker recovery than traditional surgery. The following minimally invasive surgeries can be performed to treat spinal stenosis:
- Foraminotomy — The small opening for the spinal nerve (foramen) is made larger. Tissue such as bone, disc, scar tissue or enlarged ligaments may be removed from inside and around the natural opening to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerve.
- Laminectomy (decompression) — The back part of the affected vertebrae (lamina) is removed completely, creating more room in the spinal canal and restoring normal blood flow to the nerves.
- Laminotomy — Part of the lamina is removed, which takes pressure off the spinal cord.
- Spinal fusion — Two or more vertebrae are permanently connected.
Find a San Diego Orthopedic Surgeon
To learn more about orthopedics at Sharp or to find a Sharp-affiliated doctor, search for San Diego orthopedic surgeons or call 1-800-82-SHARP (1-800-827-4277), Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 6 pm.
For More Orthopedics Information
To find general information about orthopedics, visit Orthopedic Surgery in Adult Health or read the Orthopedics News archive.