One of the issues that could lead to back pain and associated symptoms is a difficulty with stenosis. This is a condition that is more likely to occur in individuals who are over the age of 50 and it may become worse as you age. When you have this problem, the spinal canal is narrowing and because there is not as much room in the spinal canal, pressure may be placed on the nerves or the spinal cord directly. Most of the individuals who suffer from this condition have pain in the lower back, but it may also cause radiating pain and other symptoms that we will discuss further in this article.
A problem with stenosis can occur for a number of reasons but at times, genetic factors need to be considered. Degenerative disc disease can also be one of the factors that leads to this problem and it may be due to changes that are taking place in the spine that reduce the amount of space that is in the spinal column. If injury takes place, you could experience such a difficulty and it could result in other areas of the spine experiencing similar problems. Arthritis, scoliosis, trauma and spinal tumors are some of the additional reasons why stenosis may be experienced.
The Symptoms and Diagnosis of Stenosis
Most of the people who suffer from this problem are going to complain about an aching that occurs in the lower back, thighs and buttocks. There may also be pain that radiates down the legs or may radiate to other areas of the body as well. Some of the symptoms that you may experience due to this issue are more likely to occur when you exercise or walk and you may find that sitting or flexing the spine by bending over provides some temporary relief. More serious issues with stenosis can cause a loss of feeling in the extremities or you may lose the ability to control your bladder or bowel functions.
Diagnosing a problem with stenosis is going to require a trip to your physician and a complete physical exam. A variety of tests may be given during the exam, including testing your muscle strength and flexibility and your doctor will likely want to discuss your medical history and family history with you at that time. In order to give a more complete diagnosis, x-rays, CT scans and MRIs may be considered. Those scan techniques will provide the doctor with a close look at your bone structure and the soft tissues in the area.
There may be some treatments available for this condition, but they will often focus on reducing the uncomfortable symptoms that you are experiencing. Spinal injections and posture changes are some of the more common treatments that are provided, but other nonsurgical treatments may also be considered. Anti-inflammatory drugs can help to reduce the inflammation and they are commonly available over-the-counter.
Physical therapy, including strength training and stretching, can help to take some of the pressure off of the area and may reduce your symptoms as well. In more severe cases, surgery may be considered and if necessary, your doctor will discuss this possibility with you.