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Types Of Spinal Stenosis

By Expert Author: Garima Anamdani

This spinal ailment is an abnormal health condition that narrows down the spinal canal. This affects the small openings of the spinal bones or vertebrae, bone and or tissue grow and cause severe pain. The other symptoms for this condition are:
• Numbness
• Weakness
• Cramps in the legs
• Back or neck pain

What are the types?
The types of this ailment are based on the vertebrae that are affected by this ailment. Since the spine is classified into three regions, so is this ailment. So, the three types of spinal canal stenosis are:

• Cervical spinal stenosis
In this ailment, the spinal bones in neck region narrow down. This ailment is considered age-related and most commonly observed in the patients above the age of 50 years. Aging causes the destruction of cartilages or thickening of the bone ligaments that can lead to severe or mild neck pain, numbness and/or weakness. In rare cases, this condition can be found as a birth defect as well. At times, deficiency of Vitamin B12 can be a risk factor leading to this spinal ailment as well.

• Lumbar spinal stenosis
The narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord occurs in the lower back region in this type of spinal canal stenosis. So, most common cause of this ailment is degenerative spondylolisthesis. The forward displacement of one vertebra in relation to the other can lead to this ailment. However, it can be challenging to distinguish it from peripheral neuropathy secondary to diabetes, as they both have similar symptoms. Ankylosing spondylitis is another cause of the same ailment. No wonder, then, that several diagnostic tests are needed by spine specialists to determine it accurately.

• Thoracic spinal stenosis
This ailment affects the mid-back and causes considerable pain in that part of spine. However, it is a very rare condition. In most cases, it is observed among patients who have abnormal bone growth in that region that causes the narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of spinal cord. The pain in mid back along with burning sensation is the most observed symptom for this ailment. Though, there is variation in terms of the region and causes, the choices for treatment are very similar. Spine specialists consider the following options to choose the best one as per the case history, age, complication and severity of pain. These treatments include:

• NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
• Pain relievers
• Physical therapy
• Efficient weight management
• Occupational Therapy
• Bracing
• Aerobic exercises
• Rest

Keywords:spinal canal stenosis,spinal stenosis

Dr Garima Anandani (P.T.), CMP, Dip. MDT
Head- Clinical Operations, Qi Spine Clinic

Dr Anandani is the first clinician from India to qualify for the prestigious Diploma in M.D.T. from The McKenzie Institute International and University of Otago. She has acquired specialized training in Spine rehabilitation from St David's Spine and Sports Therapy, Austin, Texas (USA) and from The Polyclinic, Seattle (USA). She is also one of the few Certified Mulligan Practitioners in India, with over 14 years of clinical experience in handling musculoskeletal disorders.

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