When we talk about stenosis in medical terms, it refers to narrowing down of anybody passage. If we associate it with spinal, then it means constricting of the spinal cord, or the bone passage in which the spinal nerves sit.
Spinal stenosis can lead to severe discomfort and prevent you from carrying out regular activities if not treated properly on time. Before we delve into the consequences of spinal stenosis, let us take a closer look into the disorder.
An Overview of Spinal Stenosis?
Few people are unfortunate to be born with this type of condition, but generally, it is a result of wear and tear on the body.
It becomes more prominent with age, and you start to experience pain, discomfort, and weakness in different parts of your body coupled with the constriction of the spinal nerves. It can be caused by degenerative issues along with injuries, tumors, herniated discs, Osteoarthritis and Paget’s disease.
Spinal stenosis can be spotted mostly at two parts of your body – the lower back and the neck area. Both are known by different names and differ on
nature and symptoms.
Do you have Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?
The roots of the spinal cord located in the lower back area get compressed in Lumbar spinal stenosis. You can feel radiating pain, numbness, tingling or weakness in your lower back which is most often transferred to the buttocks and legs. Gradually, you will feel pain while walking and it can become a mammoth task just to take a step.
Do you have Cervical Spinal Stenosis?
Cervical spinal stenosis causes pain in the neck area and is caused by the constriction of the spinal cord. This is a more severe and major concern as cervical stenosis can lead to extreme weakness causing paralysis. It is advised you see a doctor if you have noticed any signs of spinal stenosis in your neck area.
There is another type of stenosis that is present, though it is not very common.
Do you have Thoracic Stenosis?
It generally occurs in the lower or middle part of your spine. The area is made up of vertebrae which are connected to the rib cage. This section of the spine has a smaller chance of developing stenosis, as it does not experience much movement.
What happens when you don’t treat Spinal Stenosis?
You may not experience the onset of the disorder, but it is very common for adults aged 50 and over. Normally, wear and tear is the leading cause to Spinal Stenosis. The long term symptoms can severely affect the quality of life of an individual.
You don’t want your life ruined by the effects of spinal stenosis. With time, even walking becomes impossible and you can’t continue walking for more than a few minutes.
The pain and weakness subside when you sit down, and your life can become sedentary due to this cause. You will also find activities like biking, trekking, and playing sports to become really difficult, and may have to give them up entirely.
You also will find it difficult to maintain your body balance when symptoms progress beyond a point.
In severe cases of stenosis, the patient may even become disabled. The symptoms can be so severe that extreme weakness makes it impossible even to stand up. It can lead to paralysis, where you lose the ability to move and even do your simple everyday tasks like picking up a bucket of water.
Decrease or loss of Bladder and Bowel Control
Spinal stenosis can also make the nerves connected to the bladder or bowel weak. Your body experiences bladder or bowel control and makes your life difficult. It is an extreme case, and you should immediately get in touch with a doctor. You may be recommended surgery to relieve you from the symptoms.
Life-long Pain and Discomfort
You already know by now that spinal stenosis will cause pain in different body areas including the neck, lower and middle back, your buttocks and legs. You may not notice them in the beginning, but they appear slowly over time.
If you do not get treated, every day of your life will consist of numbness, pain, and weakness which prevents you from stepping outside the house. Over time, the untreated cases of spinal stenosis can make the symptoms permanent.
Of course, nobody wants to live a life like that. So you must go and see a doctor when you think you have developed spinal stenosis. You should also get a check up if you have unresolved of issues of back pain and find it difficult or weak to walk.