Reno Pain

Spinal Stenosis

Best Spinal Stenosis Doctors in Reno, Sparks and Carson City, Nevada.

Spinal Stenosis

Living a long life is a blessing. The issues that could possibly come along with it are certainly not. One of those issues could include spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal. Most often caused by wear and tear over the years, those who suffer from the common condition can experience feelings of pain, tingling or weakness in their extremities that keep them from enjoying their ideal quality of life. Thankfully, there are a range of treatment options that can help, all of which the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas excel at providing. 

 

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal. This most often happens in the lower back (lumbar region) but can also occur in the neck (cervical region). The narrowing of the spinal canal can lead to irritation and pressure on the nerves within the spinal canal and the spinal cord itself. Patients who suffer from spinal stenosis most often experience pain, weakness, tingling or numbness in the lower back, hands, arms, legs or feet. Some patients even experience sciatica. 

 

Spinal stenosis is pretty common, and generally affects adults over the age of 65. Those who have been diagnosed with scoliosis and hypertension are at greater risk for developing spinal stenosis. 

 

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

There are many different conditions and factors that can cause spinal stenosis. While some cases of spinal stenosis can develop at birth (congenital), the majority of instances are acquired, meaning the condition is developed after birth. In this case, the most common cause of spinal stenosis is age, and is directly correlated with wear and tear from use, as well as loss of bone density. 

 

If you look at the anatomy of the back, there are individual vertebrae that make up the spine. These vertebrae provide structure and support, as well as protect the spinal canal. Between each vertebrae are intervertebral discs that help to cushion the vertebrae and absorb shock. If these discs shift out of place, or become herniated, they can push on the adjacent nerves and cause irritation, which leads to pain. 

 

The most common causes of spinal stenosis, in addition to age, include:

 

  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Spinal fractures and injuries
  • Spinal cysts or tumors
  • Bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis

 

Additional Complications from Spinal Stenosis

In addition to the symptoms of spinal stenosis, a possible additional complication that could occur is central sensitization. When pain from spinal stenosis becomes chronic, the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system begin to lose their ability to accurately send and receive stimuli. This could lead to signals being sent that don’t need to be sent, as well as abnormal nerve responses. This most often leads a person to experience heightened pain sensations, so a simple handshake could feel like a traumatic incident. 

 

Severe spinal stenosis could lead to loss of bladder/bowel control, loss of feeling, or extreme weakness in the legs, which are considered a medical emergency and require immediate medical care. 

 

What are the Best Treatment Options for Spinal Stenosis?

The best way to treat spinal stenosis is to partner with a pain management specialist who can accurately diagnose your specific extent of spinal stenosis. In addition to a physical exam, spinal stenosis is diagnosed by utilizing X-rays, a CT scan or MRI. Your provider will also ask questions about the level of pain, where the pain is felt, and when the pain began. Treatment depends on the cause, location of the condition, and severity of the symptoms. 

 

While there is no cure for spinal stenosis, the goal of treatment is to manage the symptoms as well as prevent any further progression of the condition. Providers can even recommend a comprehensive approach to treatment with the goal to help alleviate pain now and help to avoid pain in the future. 

 

The most common treatment options for spinal stenosis include: 

 

  • Exercise: in acute phases of the condition, exercise can help to relieve pain, strengthen muscles that support the spine, and increase flexibility and balance
  • Medications: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) , membrane stabilizing drugs, and other pain relievers have proven helpful for providing pain relief in the acute phases of the condition. It is important to note that opioid-based medications are not recommended for spinal stenosis pain. 
  • Complementary therapies: while acupuncture, meditation and massage therapy don’t treat the underlying condition, they have all proven to help not only alleviate pain symptoms but also to reduce stress and improve overall wellness
  • Epidural steroid injections: this minimally-invasive treatment involves an injection of an anesthetic and a corticosteroid into the epidural space around the spinal cord with the goal to reduce pain and inflammation. An added benefit is that it allows patients to more comfortably take advantage of other treatment options, such as physical therapy. 
  • Percutaneous adhesiolysis: this is a minimally-invasive procedure that treats chronic pain in the lower back and legs caused by spinal stenosis and involves using a catheter to break up the scar tissue in the epidural space to relieve pain. It is also known as the Racz procedure. 
  • Spinal cord stimulations (SCS): another minimally-invasive treatment method, spinal cord stimulation uses electrical signals to treat chronic pain, so instead of feeling pain a patient will feel a buzzing or tingling sensation. This not only helps to relieve pain, but can also help the person to reduce their need for pain medication, improve their quality of life, as well as avoid surgery. 
  • Surgery: when all conservative treatment options have been exhausted, surgical intervention might be needed. The most common surgeries for spinal stenosis are laminectomy or foraminotomy (both include removing bone from the spine), and while helpful, there are associated risks and complications. This option, however, might be necessary for patients who are experiencing the aforementioned severe symptoms and need immediate medical care. 

 

If you are suffering from low back and/or neck pain, have questions about spinal stenosis and would like more information about treatment options, please schedule an appointment today with the Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in the Reno, Sparks and Carson City areas. Our team is dedicated to helping all patients achieve pain relief and increase their quality of life by utilizing the most conservative methods possible. We look forward to hearing from you!

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in the spinal canal. This narrowing can put pressure on your spinal cord and/or on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. The stenosis is usually due to a combination of factors that included a bulging or disk herniation, arthritic bony changes, and/or hypertrophy (swelling) of spinal ligaments. Symptoms that are experienced typically are cramping, pain or numbness in your back and legs (if the stenosis is in the lower back), or cramping, pain or numbness in the neck, shoulders or arms (if the stenosis is in the neck).

Treatment options include medications, physical therapy or injections. The injection that is used typically to treat this condition is an epidural. For more information on epidurals, Click on the appropriate spinal segment for an informational video.

Caudal Steroid Injection
Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection
Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
Thoracic Epidural Steroid Injection

If an epidural is not helpful and surgery is not an option, then spinal cord stimulation (neuromodulation) can be considered. This procedure is done by inserting electrodes through an epidural needle into the epidural space over the spinal cord. The electrodes are then used to transmit a signal to the spinal cord that blocks pain and replaces the pain with a more pleasant feeling. Click on this link for more information about spinal cord stimulation, Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant.

Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists is recognized as an industry leader in pain management. We have a state-of-the-art facility in Reno, Nevada, that allows for us to offer the highest possible level of quality care of our patients.

We are committed to providing a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach for each individual’s pain complaints to provide the most appropriate care. Our approach includes analysis of biomechanics, joint motion, as well as skeletal, nerve and muscle tissues. Every individual is evaluated for the root cause of their pain – not just a “quick fix” approach to only provide symptomatic relief.

Your pain will be evaluated with latest diagnostic tools and technologies used by the professionals at Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists to make accurate assessments including: EMG/Nerve testing, MRIs, x-rays, bone scans, and diagnostic pain injections.

Your comprehensive treatment plan will help you eliminate chronic pain and get you back into a healthy life.

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At Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists, we know that you want to get back to living a pain-free life. To do that you need a pain management team you can trust. The problem is there are so many pain clinics that do not listen to you and treat you like a statistic which makes you feel frustrated.

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