8% of the total adult population in the United States suffers from chronic back pain. It is a common condition that can develop in people of all ages, including teens and adults. You are most likely to have missed work or school due to this condition. Fortunately, back pain goes away with simple home treatment such as over-the-counter medication and hot compression. However, the discomfort can persist in others and may indicate underlying health problems such as arthritis. If your pain fails to improve with home remedies, visit Dr. Clement Yeh for a diagnosis to establish the cause of your pain.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
There are many symptoms of spinal stenosis that you should be aware of before you seek treatment for this condition. The first symptom is usually pain in your legs (and sometimes even the extremities), especially with movement and exercise. Another common symptom includes tingling or numbness in one or both legs. Gait problems and leg weakness can also be a result of spinal stenosis. When you stand up and walk, the spine’s primary function is to stabilize your body, fight against gravity, and protect your nerves.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Unfortunately, spinal stenosis doesn’t have a specific cause. However, the condition is generally developed over many years of wear and tear on the spine. It can also be developed as you age. Aging is one of the most common causes of spinal stenosis development.
You can narrow down the risk factors for developing spinal stenosis to:
- Age (over the age of 50)
- Being over or underweight
- Previous injury to the spine or lower back
- Problems such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis
Treatment for Spinal Stenosis
As with any condition, there are treatment options that you can pursue if you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis. This condition is usually treated with surgery, but it depends on the severity of your symptoms and how long you’ve had the disease since it is a slow-developing condition. If you let this go too long without treatment, it may be challenging to treat in the future. The surgery options can vary, but they usually consist of decompression, screw fixation, and cage placement in the spine. If you let this go too long without treatment, it may be challenging to treat in the future. To address this, back support options like a specialized back support brace can be considered.
To prevent spinal stenosis from forming, you have to keep your back healthy. This means keeping your weight at a healthy range, as well as performing exercise regularly. You can also try changing or altering certain habits that affect the spine and back. You can consider changing your job title if you need to sit down for prolonged periods. Since smoking increases the chances of developing osteoarthritis, quitting smoking can also help prevent spinal stenosis.
Be aware of spinal stenosis symptoms, and look out for if you have difficulty moving, finding an even gait, or experiencing numbness in the legs.
In summary, spinal stenosis is a condition where the spine compresses the nerves in your body, causing pain and numbness. It comes with pain in the legs and tingling or numbness in one or both legs. The specific cause of spinal stenosis remains unknown. Treatment involves surgery. You need to keep your back healthy to prevent the condition.
Causes of back pain
Back pain can be a result of poor posture or can indicate underlying conditions such as:
· Bulging disks. Your spinal cord is made of aligned bones known as vertebrae. Between each vertebra is a disc that cushions the bones and absorbs shock. The disks contain soft material on the inside, which can spill out when the disk ruptures. Pain may result when the inner content presses on a nerve. However, it is possible to have a ruptured disc without back pain.
· Arthritis. When this age-related condition affects your back, you may experience discomfort. It can also constrict the spinal space, resulting in spinal stenosis.
· Muscle and ligament strain. Lifting heavy objects or having sudden awkward movements can strain your back muscles. If you are physically unfit, you are likely to experience muscle spasms when you strain your back.
· Osteoporosis. Your bones, including those in your back area, are prone to fractures when they become brittle and porous.
Risk factors for back pain
Although anyone can develop back pain, including teens and adults, the following factors increase your chances of this condition.
· Age. As you advance in age, your bones become brittle and prone to fractures upon forceful impact. Your chances of developing conditions such as osteoarthritis also increase, which can cause back pain.
· Obesity. Weighing more than you should strain your back due to added pressure. If obesity is the cause of your back pain, your doctor may recommend physical exercise and dietary changes to lose excess weight and maintain a healthy body mass index.
· Diseases. Medical conditions such as cancer can contribute to pain in your back. Others like arthritis can affect the bones in your spinal area, resulting in pain.
· Physical inactivity. People who do not regularly exercise are at risk of back pain due to unused muscles, which tend to be weak.
· Mental disorders. The chances of developing back pain are higher in people with psychological conditions such as depression and anxiety.
· Smoking. Cigarettes contain nicotine, which constricts your blood vessels, limiting the amount of blood in your organs. It also affects
How can I prevent back pain?
· Quit smoking. Not only will it reduce your risk for back pain, but also other conditions such as lung cancer.
· Engage in regular physical exercise to strengthen your back muscles.
· Lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight to avoid straining your back muscles.
· Strengthen your core muscles by engaging in exercises that your specialist may recommend.
Back pain can limit your productivity and affect your quality of life. If you have chronic back pain, reserve a session with your doctor at Republic Spine and Pain for treatment to enjoy a pain-free life.