Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of your spinal canal, the open space in your spine. The narrowing pinches – or puts pressure on – the nerves of your spine, causing pain, numbness or weakness.
The most common cause of spinal stenosis is aging, as the wear and tear on the spinal cord discs and joints cause the canal to narrow. Certain conditions, like arthritis, can cause spinal stenosis as well.
Stenosis can affect any area of your spine, although it most often occurs in the neck (cervical stenosis) and the lower back (lumbar stenosis).
At Aurora Health Care, our orthopedic and neurosurgery experts will work with you to find the most effective treatment solution. First, we’ll focus on nonsurgical spinal stenosis treatments, like cortisone injections, chiropractic care, acupuncture and physical therapy. If those methods don’t work or stop working, we may then recommend spinal stenosis surgery. And our expert surgeons use minimally invasive methods when possible to reduce tissue damage so you can feel better faster.
As one of the largest regional health care providers in Wisconsin, we treat thousands of people for spinal stenosis and other back and spine conditions every year. We apply this experience to every aspect of your care so that you can count on:
You may find that spinal stenosis symptoms occur on one side of your body and then progress over time. Spinal stenosis symptoms include:
You may feel relief from your symptoms when you bend forward, sit or lie down. Symptoms can also improve when you walk uphill and worsen when you walk downhill.
If you experience these symptoms, you can turn to our team for expert, compassionate care. We will get to the bottom of your pain so we can treat it and help you get back to feeling your best.
Age is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. This is because the spine consists of bones separated by discs. The discs are made of a jelly-like, squishy substance, and as we age, those discs lose water. As a result, growths called bone spurs form on the surface of the bone, eventually causing the spine to narrow. People 50 years of age and older are most likely to experience this.
But other medical conditions may also contribute to spinal stenosis, including:
Our specialists will perform a thorough evaluation so we can make a precise diagnosis. At your first appointment, they will ask you about your stenosis symptoms and medical history.
Other diagnostic tests may include:
Find out more about orthopedic diagnosis at Aurora.
After we arrive at a precise diagnosis, we will discuss your treatment options with you. We’ll consider nonsurgical treatments first to relieve the pressure on the spinal nerves and improve your symptoms.
Nonsurgical spinal stenosis treatments include:
If nonsurgical spinal stenosis treatment does not work or works only temporarily, we will discuss options for spinal stenosis surgery with you. Whenever possible, we use minimally invasive methods, which target the affected area only to protect the healthy tissue. This leads to easier, more comfortable recoveries. Learn more about minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery at Aurora.
Procedures we offer include: