Spinal stenosis is a disorder that is characterised by the narrowing of the spinal canal. This narrowing is often brought about by degeneration of the facet joints and the intervertebral discs.
In spinal stenosis, bone spurs grow into the spinal canal. In addition, the facet joints also enlarge and become arthritic, also contributing in the narrowing of the space available for the nerve roots. Over time, the ligaments of the spinal column grow stiff and become less flexible. All these development contribute to the narrowing of the spinal canal, impinging and putting pressure on the spinal cords and nerve roots.
Most individuals with spinal stenosis will experience distortion in their spinal canal as they age. However, the severity of the symptoms of this condition largely depends on the size of the spinal canal as well as the encroachment on the nerves. In addition, the rate of deterioration significantly varies from one individual to another. It is also important to note that not all people with spinal stenosis will experience pain or weakness.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
There are a number of processes that contribute to the development of spinal stenosis but the most common is degenerative causes. However, spinal stenosis has also been known to occur in individuals who were born with smaller than normal spinal canal, or what is known as congenital stenosis. Other contributing factors include metabolic conditions and tumors.
The most common symptoms of spinal stenosis are weakness and pain, which is often experienced in the leg and buttocks. In such cases, the condition may be associated with the compression of the microvascular structures that carries the blood flow to the nerve roots.
In other cases, spinal stenosis may arise from direct physical compression on the nerve roots. This causes interference in the normal function of nerve roots as well as reduces the effectiveness and endurance of the spinal nerves.
There are some people with degenerative disease of the spine who don’t experience any symptom, while others only complain of mild discomfort in the lower back. In severe cases, some patients are unable to walk.
Symptoms associated with spinal stenosis can sometimes be alleviated by adapting certain positions that increase the available space for the nerves. These positions include flexion or bending of the lower spine as well as bending forward.
In many cases people with spinal stenosis can walk up an incline or ride a bike without experiencing any pain. Some can even walk extended distances as long as they are able to lean on something like a shopping cart. However, walking down an incline can be an entirely different matter.
Chiropractic Care for Spinal Stenosis
Over the years, numerous studies have revealed that chiropractic care has been demonstrated to be effective in the management of spinal stenosis symptoms. In particular, the flexion-distraction technique has been found to improve spinal biomechanics, allowing normal dynamics increase the size of the spinal canal as well as provide subsequent symptomatic relief.
OHP Kelowna chiropractic department has had extensive cases involving spinal stenosis. Our Kelowna chiropractic team uses a multi-disciplinary approach using the latest in medical technology for non-surgical spinal decompression, comprehensive therapy and unrivalled healthcare experience.