1.What is Stenosis?
Stenosis is a condition in which the blood vessel or any other tubular organ in the body gets narrowed abnormally. There are several types of stenosis. They are as follows:
- Spinal Stenosis – The narrowing occurs in the spaces within the spinal canal. The lateral portion of the spinal canal is known as lateral recess, and when narrowing happens it is known as lateral stenosis. Spinal stenosis has 2 classifications. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Cervical stenosis. The narrowing occurs to the free space in the lumbar region of the spine ie, lower back.
- Aortic Stenosis – The narrowing happens to the valve of the large blood vessel (aorta) those branches off to the heart.
- Carotid Artery Stenosis – The narrowing happens in the neck to the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the brain.
Stenosis symptoms will vary depending on the affected area and spinal stenosis is the commonest condition among all. Stenosis symptoms that affect the spine include the following:
- Tingling in arm, hand, leg, and foot
- Numbness and muscle weakness
- Difficulty in walking
- Problems with body balance
- Neck pain, and radiating arm pain
- Bladder and bowel dysfunction in severe cases (incontinence and urinary urgency are commonly observed)
2.Who is at risk?
- Age – Stenosis is commonly seen in people above 50 years of age and with age spine degenerates and leads to compression of the nerves passing through foramen causing neural foramina (openings on the sides of the spinal canal where the nerve roots are seen) stenosis. This is considered a serious condition where nerve death occurs.
- Sex – While considering gender, men seem to be more susceptible than women. Women who suffer from stenosis are observed to have spinal stenosis as a result of Spondylolisthesis. Though it can occur at a younger age, it remains asymptomatic for several years.
- Other medical conditions like osteoarthritis results in spinal stenosis, congenital heart conditions lead to aortic stenosis. Carotid stenosis is prevalent in those who have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke, and lumbar stenosis are seen in patients with diabetes and underlying heart diseases.
- Smoking – Those who smoke are at higher risk of developing stenosis.
- Those who have a history of infections that affect the heart.
Some people have a small spinal canal by birth. But most commonly, spinal stenosis occurs when narrowing of the spinal canal happens due to many reasons. The main stenosis causes are as follows:
- Bone outgrowth as a consequence of osteoarthritis, and Paget’s disease that results in bone spurs.
- Tumors inside the spinal cord, or within the membrane that covers the spinal cord, or in-between spinal cord and vertebrae
- Herniated disks as a result of aging can form cracks in the exterior of the disk allowing some of the soft inner material to bulge out and press the spinal cord or nerves.
- Thickened ligaments that hold your bones of the spine can bulge into the spinal canal.
- Spinal injuries from accidents and trauma can result in fracture or dislocation of one or more vertebrae. The displaced bone damages the spinal canal causing stenosis.
3.How is Stenosis diagnosed?
To diagnose this condition, first, the doctor will check for the signs and symptoms that you have come across, medical history, and do a physical examination. Further to that stenosis diagnosis also involves the following:
- X-ray to check bone spurs that causes narrowing of the spinal canal.
- MRI to get cross-sectional images of the spine to detect the disk and ligament damages and presence of tumors that causes stenosis.
- CT or CT myelogram that can reveal herniated disks, tumors, and bone spurs in case you can’t have an MRI.
All the above can be considered as credible stenosis tests to confirm stenosis.
4.How is Stenosis treated?
For stenosis treatment, it is ideal to consult orthopedics who have hands-on experience to do a proper diagnosis to prescribe an effective treatment. The treatment may include physical therapy, medications, surgery, or a combination of any of these depending on the severity of the condition. The right place to consult orthopedics in this context is Care.fit the leading healthcare provider in India known for their multicity presence. If surgery is what the right option for you, need not worry about where to go for stenosis cure? Care.fit will have a panel of doctors specialized in all streams of medicine. They will take care of all your requirements ensuring your privacy and security through their easy and simple operational procedures.
5.How can Stenosis be Prevented?
Once the condition is diagnosed, you obviously can’t prevent it. But you can reduce the chance of getting the condition worse by doing regular exercise and using proper body mechanics. However, spinal stenosis prevention is possible if you can maintain your spinal health by practicing certain habits that can help you improve and maintain spinal health.