Can chiropractic cure spinal stenosis?
Back pain is one of the most common conditions seen in the US. In fact, over 80% of the American population is known to experience lower back pain. And among those dealing with chronic, worsening back aches–spinal stenosis has been a common factor.
Most people diagnosed with spinal stenosis have the option of surgery offered to them. And to avoid the risks and expenses of the procedure, more people now turn towards natural, gentler alternatives. And chiropractic therapy has been a really effective option in this regard.
What is the condition of spinal stenosis? What may cause it? And how can chiropractic care be of help? Have a read-
What is spinal stenosis?
Basically, your spine is a series of 24 bones (vertebrae) stacked on each other, supporting the body. And the spinal cord runs through the spinal canal–a narrow channel inside the spine. The spinal cord includes several groups of nerves–and these spinal nerves exit the spinal canal through the openings down either side of the vertebrae.
Spinal stenosis is a condition that narrows the spaces within the spinal canal. This compresses the spinal cord and puts pressure on the nerves exiting the spine. This may occur in the upper segments (cervical), the middle segments (thoracic), or in the lower back (lumbar).
One may not see symptoms if this narrowing is minimal. But if it gradually gets more severe–the nerves get compressed and this opens up a lot of problems.
For people with spinal stenosis, these symptoms can be common-
Lower back pain
Numbness in buttocks or legs
Arm or leg weakness
Numbness and tingling
These symptoms usually appear gradually over time. But they may have a sudden onset in some cases–and the severity of the symptoms would depend on where the narrowing has occurred.
What may cause it?
The causes of spinal stenosis can include anything that “changes” the structure of the spine–and narrows the spaces within. The most common cases are-
Congenital spinal stenosis: One may be born with a small/narrow spinal canal
Bone spurs: Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis may cause an overgrowth of additional bone mass–which may extend into the spinal canal and narrow its spaces.
Thickened ligaments: Arthritis often causes ligaments of the vertebrae to “thicken” over time. And these thickened ligaments may bulge into the spinal canal.
Tumors: Abnormal growths may form around the spinal cord–hindering the spaces of the spinal canal.
Spinal injuries: Physical trauma may cause bone fractures and inflammation near the spine–narrowing the canal spaces or compressing spinal nerves.
Chiropractic for spinal stenosis
Chiropractic care has been one of the most effective treatment plans to help manage spinal stenosis. Typically, patients begin to see an improvement in their symptoms within the first couple of weeks of intense treatment.
The first step in treatment will be a diagnosis of your condition and spinal alignment. In my office, I use X-rays and other imaging to get a proper view of the spine. Ideally, the spine should run straight down the back’s center, with a gentle S curve when looked at from the side. Any variation from this alignment is often a big factor behind the pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. Based on your condition and preferences, I may use manual adjustments or specialized tools to gently realign the spine.
Spinal decompression therapy, in particular, has been effective in minimizing the debilitating symptoms caused by spinal stenosis. This technique will involve gently stretching the spine–creating a negative pressure in the discs. This is often key in retracting any bulging discs and taking pressure off the affected nerves. Decompression therapy also helps release tension throughout the spinal canal–restoring compressed spaces in the process.
The aim here will be to ensure holistic wellness. So, your treatment will also include some personalized exercise routines and physiotherapy–to maintain optimum spine health, muscle strength, and mobility.
Have you been experiencing back pain or some other symptoms? Please get yourself checked up. At Lotus Chiropractic Care, Dr. Tanvi Desai will have a look at your condition and walk you through the right treatment plan. Let us help you live in good health!