In our last blog, we defined spinal stenosis as a narrowing of the spinal canal.
When the spinal canal shrinks, it puts pressure on the nerves, ligaments, and bones of the spine. You end up experiencing pain in your back as well as your limbs, because the nerves get pinched. Not many people know this, but stenosis, or narrowing, can happen in other parts of the body as well as the back. At the Spine Institute of North America, we specialize in spinal stenosis. We have the skill needed to provide relief to this difficult condition.
We’ve already discussed a few frequently-asked questions about spinal stenosis. Today, we want to give you insights on a few more.
Where does spinal stenosis show up?
This might seem obvious – it shows up in the spine, of course! However, the spine is a long expanse of delicate, sensitive pieces, and different issues affect different parts. Spinal stenosis commonly shows up in the lumbar spine, or the lower back. That being said, it can show up in the upper or middle spine as well; this simply isn’t as common. If your doctor has written of spinal stenosis because your pain originates from the upper or lower back, he or she may be wrong. You will want to be sure to make an appointment with us.
What methods are used to diagnose spinal stenosis?
When it comes to the spine, there are many different ways to explore what is going on. Depending on what specialist you have, there are different ways to rule out different conditions.
- Medical history – The doctor will need to know symptoms, conditions, injuries, and any health problems that may play a role in the back issues you experience.
- Physical exam – Before any imaging is done, the doctor will physically examine your spine to understand movement limitations, pain occurrence, and sensation in the arms and legs.
- X-ray – this is a two-dimensional image created by x-ray beams that are passed through the spine. This type of imaging is usually done before any other kind in order to capture the overall structure of the spine as well as any calcification.
- CAT Scan – Computerized axial tomography (CAT) involves several x-rays being passed through the spine and several angles. This produces a three-dimensional image. A CAT scan image shows both the size and shape of the spinal canal as well as the structures around and within it.
- MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnet instead of x-rays. It is extremely effective at finding damage or disease in the soft tissues.
- Myelogram – A dye that repels x-rays gets injected into the spinal column, where it settles around the bones and helps them stand out on x-ray film. This is a great method for identifying pressure on the spinal cord, bone spurs, and tumors.
Spinal stenosis doesn’t have to take over your life. When it comes to issues of the spine, we are the ultimate source for care and relief. Visit our office in New Jersey and let our world-class team help you.