How is Spinal Stenosis a Cause of Neuropathy?

Spinal Stenosis, or the narrowing of spaces and cushions designed to absorb shock to the spine, can be present at birth or can develop over time from injury or the degenerative process of aging. It can be caused by herniated discs, osteoarthritis, a toughening of spinal ligaments or swelling of bone due to an accident or other injury. Slowly worsening back pain is a cardinal symptom, alone with numbness or cramping of arms or legs. There may be a weakness of arms or legs, and stretching or flexing exercises, which help to open up new space in the spine, may relieve all of these symptoms.

Neuropathy is a serious disorder of the Peripheral Nervous System. The peripheral nervous system is the network responsible for carrying signals from the central nervous system to the rest of the body. Neuropathy is accompanied by a wide range of symptoms, since an individual’s symptoms depend on which specific peripheral nerves have been damaged. These symptoms include, but are not limited to, numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, dizziness, and sexual dysfunction. There are many causes of neuropathy, including physical trauma, diabetes, infections, systemic diseases, autoimmune disorders. In addition, some forms of neuropathy are inherited genetically.

There are some treatment options that may be suitable for you, however consider non surgical treatments. The three most common non-surgical spinal stenosis treatments include:

 Exercises. Although a suitable program of spinal stenosis exercises may be helpful in the hands of a good physical therapist, it is not curative. Even though stenosis exercises are not a cure, however, it is very important for patients to remain active as tolerated and not additionally debilitated from inactivity; therefore, an appropriate spinal stenosis exercise program is a key part of any treatment program.

 Activity modification. With this treatment for stenosis, patients are usually counseled to avoid activities that cause adverse spinal stenosis symptoms. Patients are typically more comfortable while flexed forward. Examples of activity modification for treatment of spinal stenosis might include: walking while bent over and leaning on a walker or shopping cart instead of walking upright; stationary biking (leaning forward on the handlebars) instead of walking for exercise; sitting in a recliner instead of on a straight-back chair.

Epidural injections. An injection of cortisone into the space outside the dura (the epidural space) can temporarily relieve symptoms of spinal stenosis. While injections can seldom be considered curative, these spinal stenosis treatments can alleviate the pain in about 50% of cases. Up to three injections over a course of several months can be tried. Although they are not considered diagnostic in and of themselves, generally, if the pain caused by spinal stenosis is relieved by an epidural steroid injection, then the patient can also be expected to have a good result if they later choose to have spinal stenosis surgery.

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