Superior Outcomes for Spinal Stenosis Patients
University Hospitals’ nationally recognized spine specialists are dedicated to using the latest techniques and technologies to diagnose and treat patients with spinal stenosis. Our program is one of only 20 in the nation to be recognized as a National Center of Excellence by the National Spine Institute – so you can count on our expert care.
We understand just how difficult it can be to live with spinal stenosis symptoms including a decreased activity level, pain, disability and perhaps loss of bladder control. For every patient we treat, our highly skilled spine specialists design a customized spinal stenosis treatment plan based on your unique care needs.
Understanding the Causes of Spinal Stenosis
The narrowing of the spinal canal, which is the bony structure that encloses the spinal cord and nerve roots is known as spinal stenosis. This condition usually develops gradually as a result of age-related spinal degeneration and is most common in individuals who are over 50 years of age.
While the majority of spinal stenosis cases occur in the lower back, spinal stenosis may arise in the neck as well. If you are experiencing spinal stenosis symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and hot or cold sensations, you may be living with this condition.
Advanced Diagnostic Testing for Spinal Stenosis
A thorough physical exam and review of your medical history is the first step in accurately diagnosing spinal stenosis. If you are showing symptoms, we may ask you what makes them better or worse and how long they’ve been present. We may also perform the following diagnostic exams:
- Computed tomography (CT) scans: CT scans use X-rays and a computer to generate images that are more detailed than traditional X-rays and may reveal the narrowing of your spinal cord.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): An MRI machine uses a large magnet and radio waves and can be useful in pinpointing the location and severity of the stenosis.
- Myelograms: A myelogram is taken after X-rays and CT scans are performed and a dye is injected into the spinal column. This test may be conducted if you’ve had a previous spinal condition or spine surgery.
- X-rays: X-rays allow us to assess the curvature and bone anatomy of the vertebral column.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Spinal Stenosis Treatment
If you are diagnosed with spinal stenosis, our team of arthritis specialists, nerve specialists, physical therapists and spinal surgeons will collaborate to design a treatment plan for your particular case. This type of multidisciplinary approach results in a more effective treatment and allows us to focus on your long-term health goals. We will likely start by recommending:
- Medications: Nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medications may relieve your pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy for spinal stenosis: Our physical therapists may educate you on how to perform everyday activities safely and show you which exercises can strengthen your back.
- Steroid injections: Epidural steroid injections contain a corticosteroid which reduces pain and inflammation and may provide you with temporary or even long-term relief.
If conservative spinal stenosis treatments prove to be ineffective, our spine surgeons may suggest these surgical options:
- Discectomy: The purpose of a discectomy is to remove all or a portion of a disc that is pressing on the spinal cord. We are pleased to offer minimally invasive discectomies.
- Laminectomy: A laminectomy involves removing the bone and soft tissues of the spine that are pinching the nerves.
- Spinal fusion: In a minimally invasive spinal fusion surgery, a surgeon will fuse together two or more vertebrae to prevent them from moving and causing spinal cord compression.
Contact University Hospitals for Spinal Stenosis Diagnosis and Treatment
For further information on our spinal stenosis diagnostics and treatment program at University Hospitals or to schedule an appointment, contact our spine specialists today at 216-286-8888.