Medically speaking, spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal resulting in pressure being applied to nerves leading to numbness and pain. There are two forms of this condition called lumbar stenosis and cervical stenosis with the lumbar variety being the most common while the cervical form is seen as the more dangerous of the two.
The main reason as to why spinal stenosis develops is due to wear and tear on the spine and that is why it is more common in people over the age of 50. There are some other medical issues that can lead to it developing including a herniated disc, but the speed at which it develops does depend on how much stress has been applied to the spine over a prolonged period of time.
When it comes to the symptoms of spinal stenosis, then the most common ones are a tingling feeling or numbness in your limbs along with pain. In the case of lumbar stenosis a sufferer may develop symptoms that can often be mistaken for sciatica and the problems will generally ease once they have sat down due to the pressure being taken off the nerves in question.
For treatment, then it is important to point out that surgery is the last option for spinal stenosis and is only considered in the most severe of cases. In surgery, they will ease the pressure on the spinal canal by removing the back of the vertebrae that has been damaged and even though it does sound like major surgery it is also extremely effective.
Aside from surgery, the most common form of treatment is medication and in particular a painkiller will be given in order to ease symptoms. The most popular forms of painkillers to be used are the opioids as they are stronger than normal and can certainly help the sufferer to settle. Along with the painkiller, an anti-inflammatory is also prescribed with the likes of Ibuprofen being the most popular. This helps by reducing swelling in the area, so the pressure on the nerves and spinal canal will also be eased. Other medications can include the likes of muscle relaxants and even anti-seizure medication as they will both prevent muscle and nerve spasms that can often lead to pain.
Finally, people may also be given the chance to have some therapy and this will tend to involve some gentle manipulation by way of massage along with exercises that are designed to build strength in the area that is affected. People that suffer from spinal stenosis have stated how therapy does help, but it is more about the long-term rather than short-term gain as relief is certainly not immediate.
Spinal stenosis is, therefore, a debilitating condition, but the good news is that there are treatment options out there that can ease the pain you are feeling. If you feel that you are suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above, then do seek medical advice as quickly as possible in order to help preserve your current mobility levels before the condition is allowed to progress leading to more health issues further down the line.