Canal Narrowing (Spinal Stenosis)
What Is Canal Narrowing?
The vertebrae, spinal cord and nerve fibers are bone structures that protect the structures called. The spinal cord and nerve fibers descend along the canal in the middle of the vertebrae, starting from the lower part of the head. There are structures between the vertebrae called discs that allow the vertebrae to be connected to each other.
These discs lose their amount of fluid as they age. This may cause the disc to lose its ability to carry load and to harden and move towards the spinal canal, causing the canal diameter to narrow. Another cause of spinal stenosis is the enlargement of the facet joints behind the vertebrae.
What Are The Symptoms of Canal Stenosis?
Spinal stenosis may not always be symptomatic. Studies have shown that there are many people with no symptoms but severe spinal stenosis. Pain, numbness and cramping in the back or legs, if any, are indicated. Weakness may also occur in the legs. Rarely, it may cause bladder and/or bowel problems. Complaints may increase with prolonged standing and walking. Symptoms may be persistent or come and go in the form of seizures. After walking for a limited time, it may be necessary to stop and squat due to weakness and numbness in the legs. Walking distance may decrease gradually.
What Are The Treatment Options For Canal Narrowing?
Symptoms of spinal stenosis often cause patients to avoid movement. This creates a decrease in bending and endurance. Physical therapy or exercise program is important in terms of strengthening the muscles and restoring the ability to bend. Aerobics, cycling and hiking are suggested. Because such actions increase the amount of blood coming to the nerves and thus reduce the symptoms of narrowing. Exercises that strengthen the back, abdominal and leg muscles may also be recommended. If necessary, a walking aid can be used to make walking the easiest and safest.
Unless a significant and progressive leg weakness develops and there are no bladder or bowel problems, spinal stenosis is not a dangerous condition in adults. In such cases, the goal of treatment is to maintain the patient's quality of life and to control pain if pain is present.
When the necessary indications are provided, surgical methods deemed appropriate by the doctor can also be used. The aim of the surgical intervention to be performed is to remove the pressure and expand the canal diameter. This procedure is called lumbar decompression. Laminectomy is another surgical method that can be selected. In this direction, the narrowed bone canal is enlarged by taking the bones in the back. Surgical intervention with the right indication improves leg pain and loss of leg function. Today, patients can return to their normal lives a few weeks after the operation.