If you’re living with back pain, it can be hard to find effective relief, especially when you have spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis develops when your spine grows narrow in certain areas, which puts pressure on the nerves traveling through your spinal canal. While it doesn’t always cause symptoms, spinal stenosis can lead to intense pain, numbness, tingling, and even muscle weakness. In most cases, these symptoms grow worse with time.
Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer from back pain, even if you have spinal stenosis. New and innovative treatments, such as interspinous spacers, can provide pain relief without the need for risky pain medications. At Spinal Diagnostics, you can rely on our experienced team of specialists to bring you the most advanced pain relief solutions available for your back and nerve pain. And, to make sure you can find pain management solutions as easily as possible, we offer appointments at three convenient Oregon locations in Tualatin, Portland, and Newberg.
While you can be born with a small spinal canal, spinal stenosis often develops in men and women over age 50 and is often associated with osteoarthritis. Common factors that can cause your spinal canal to narrow include:
- An overgrowth of bone, or bone spurs
- Herniated discs
- Thickened ligaments
- Spinal injuries or trauma
- Abnormal growths and tumors
Spinal stenosis can occur anywhere in your spine, but it is most commonly found in the neck and lower back. Your specific symptoms can vary depending on the area of your spine and the nerves affected. In addition to pain and weakness, spinal stenosis can also cause problems with walking and balance. In extreme cases, you may also experience bladder or bowel issues.
When you have spinal stenosis, you can also experience neurogenic claudication symptoms due to compressed nerves in your lower spine. Common symptoms associated with neurogenic claudication include cramping, pain, or tingling when standing or walking that improves when you sit down or lean forward, like against a shopping cart. If you have neurogenic claudication, you can have symptoms in one or both of your legs, buttocks, or hips.
When interventional treatments, such as epidural steroid injections and selective nerve root blocks, don’t provide relief from your symptoms, we might recommend interspinous spacers.
Interspinous spacers are a dynamic approach to treating spinal stenosis that works by keeping your spinous processes open to reduce pressure on your nerves. A spinous process is the part of your vertebra that projects from your vertebral arch. These areas are the parts of your spine that you can feel sticking out along your back. By inserting an interspinous spacer into the space between two spinous processes, it can hold open your spine and stop your spinal nerves from being constricted and thereby relieve your symptoms.
Interspinous spacers offer several advantages for treating spinal stenosis. We implant them during a minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t require any screws or hardware. Their innovative design allows them to sit permanently in place without additional support. This approach enables us to relieve your pain while safely preserving your spine and surrounding tissues. It also makes them easy to remove in the future if needed.
Having an interspinous spacer placed requires one small incision and usually takes between 15-45 minutes. Because of the minimally invasive approach of this procedure and the fact that your implant doesn’t require hardware, you have less risk of infection, less blood loss during your procedure, and better preservation of your spinal motion.
After your procedure, we might recommend physical therapy to improve your muscle strength and flexibility. In most cases, you can resume normal activity in 2-6 weeks after your procedure.
To see if interspinous spacers can relieve your spinal stenosis symptoms, call us at Spinal Diagnostics or schedule an appointment online today.