Spinal Stenosis

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Dear Doctors,

My mother has always been very healthy and active. Over the winter, she was left off at the door of a restaurant and tripped over the curb. She quickly got up and it seemed that the only thing that was hurt was her pride. Two days later she experienced severe low back pain and had difficulty getting out of bed. She went to her medical doctor and he gave her pain medication. The week after that, she had an x-ray and was sent for an MRI. The MRI showed that she had spinal stenosis. My question is what is spinal stenosis and could this be caused from her tripping over the curb?

Answer:
Spinal stenosis is a condition that is usually associated with aging and is most commonly associated with osteoarthritis of the joints of the spine. Certain bone diseases, such as padget’s disease and congenital (present at birth) defects in the formation of the spine, and disc herniations could be contributing factors. Break down or degeneration of discs and spinal tissues causes a change in the shape of the spinal canal, which results in less room for the nerves to be associated. Traction spurs and atrophy of the cartilage between vertebra is also a contributing factor. This results in nerve pressure and manifests itself in pain syndromes.

This condition usually develops over a long period and is associated with several insults or injuries to the spine. The fall that your mom had, was most likely just one of many incidents that contributed to this condition. One of the reasons we stress maintenance or preventative care in our office is to minimize the chance of individuals developing a condition such as this.

When a person has periodic chiropractic adjustments, this keeps good mobility in the spine, the cartilage between the vertebra will not atrophy and a person is less likely to have traction spurs, which is a major contributor to spinal stenosis. Most patients respond favorably to conservative care, but some require surgery.

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