Older patient discussing integrative healthcare with his doctor.

Does Everyone get Stenosis as they Age?

If you are over the age of 50 and have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, you may wonder if this is a normal part of aging, especially since many of your older friends and relatives have also been diagnosed with the same condition. In fact, stenosis does affect a significant percentage of the population, but not everyone. If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, now is the right time to contact a skilled physiatrist to see what treatment options you have.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), spinal stenosis is more common the older we get. Twenty-one 21 percent of all individuals over age 60, as determined by radiological data alone, have lumbar (lower back) stenosis, and many more have cervical (neck) stenosis. Furthermore, the NIH reports that everyone in this age group has some degenerative changes in the lumbar spine, whether or not they indicate stenosis. 

Before you become depressed by this information, realize that Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine doctors, all well-trained in musculoskeletal problems, have several treatments available to help patients with spinal stenosis alleviate pain and improve mobility. 

What exactly is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal that results in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. It is associated with osteoarthritis in which cartilage wears down and erosion of bones of the lumbar or cervical region of the spine, or in other joints, may occur.

Aging Is Not the Only Cause of Spinal Stenosis

Although most people with spinal stenosis are over the age of 50 and the condition is most often the result of normal wear and tear, degenerative changes can cause spinal stenosis in younger people. Other causes of spinal stenosis include:

  • Traumatic injury, e.g. due to an accident or sports injury
  • Congenital spinal deformity such as scoliosis
  • Certain genetic diseases affecting bone and muscle development 

Whatever the cause of your spinal stenosis, our spine specialists have a variety of nonsurgical treatments to make you feel better and move more easily, making your daily routine more productive and more enjoyable by relieving your pain and enabling you to move more easily.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

For those who suffer from spinal stenosis, the symptoms of the condition are all too familiar. They include:

  • Back pain or pain down the legs while sitting
  • Pain or cramping in one or both legs when standing for long periods or walking
  • Weakness, numbness or tingling in the foot or leg

A common sign of spinal stenosis is that patients with this problem report great relief when leaning forward on a shopping cart, walker, or rollator, reducing compression of the spine. 

Nonsurgical Treatments Can Help Relieve the Pain of Spinal Stenosis

Fortunately, there are several nonsurgical methods of treatment for spinal stenosis in which Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine doctors are proficient. These include:

  • Personalized physical therapy to increase flexibility, strengthen core muscles, improve balance and gait, and extend range of motion
  • Epidural corticosteroid/analgesic injections to reduce pain and inflammation
  • Facet injections of lubricating fluid directly into the facet joints that connect the vertebrae
  • Acupuncture to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation
  • Trigger point injections for patients whose stenosis has resulted in poor posture or abnormal body positions that cause muscle pain
  • Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) that targets and deadens particular nerves that transmit pain from the affected region of the spine

It should be noted that both epidural injections and radiofrequency ablation are performed under fluoroscopic guidance for accuracy and precision.

Contact Our Experienced Spine Specialists to Cope with Spinal Stenosis

Because spinal stenosis worsens over time, it is important to take steps to keep it from progressing. Get in touch with our knowledgeable, compassionate doctors who have an in-depth understanding of pain and are dedicated to relieving it.