BPS 20: Symptoms and Diagnosis of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis may have different symptoms. The symptoms depend on the severity and the location of stenosis. In this post, we will look at the common symptoms of spinal stenos as well as proper diagnosis tests to identify the condition.

What are Common Spinal Stenosis Symptoms?

Spinal stenosis develops slowly over time. The symptoms can also occur intermittently. Instead of continuous pain, the symptoms can come and go. The symptoms of spinal stenosis may also occur when performing certain activities such as walking, riding a back or standing upright.

Patients suffering from spinal stenosis may experience relief from pain by lying down. They may also experience relief when in a flexed forward position.

Leg pain may develop due to lumbar spine stenosis. The medical word for the leg pain is claudication. It can be caused due to vascular claudication (arterial insufficiency) or neurogenic claudication due to spinal stenosis. In either condition, leg pain will subside with rest. The patient will have to sit down for a few minutes to ease the pain in the lower back.

In case of lumbar stenosis, pain may subside after flexing forward or sitting. This will open the spinal canal that will provide pain relief. The spinal canal opens up due to the stretching of the ligamentum flavum. However, the symptoms recur when the patient walks or sits in an upright position. The pain can be accompanied by tingling and numbness.

How Spinal Stenosis is Diagnosed?

Doctors may use imaging studies for patients suffering from spinal stenosis. They may carry on a CT or MRI scan for diagnosis of the condition. In some cases, doctors carry out a CT scan with myelogram. They use an X-ray dye placed in the spinal sac fuel to better identify the cause of the condition. But the scan cannot provide details of soft tissues such as disc herniations, bulges, hypertrophy, and herniations.

As a result of the changing compression, the symptoms of spinal stenosis may that may not show up in diagnostic tests. Doctors may check activities and body position that result in the symptoms to make correct diagnosis.

Some doctors may use flexion extension MRIs, and upright MRIs in order to know the causes of the condition. They may also use spine load-bearing MRIs in order to identify the changes on the spinal.

CTI and MRI scans can be used to pinpoint cervical foraminal stenosis. The procedure also involves selective nerve root block by injecting the suspicious nerve with a local anesthetic. The injection will result in the remission of the symptoms of the patient that can help the doctor determine the cause of the condition.

In certain cases, the doctor uses electrodiagnostic examination to know about the type of surgery. The studies can help if the symptom in caused due to neuropathy, instead of radiculopathy. But the efficacy of the diagnostic test is not conclusive. The test must be used in conjunction with another test to know about the exact cause of the spinal stenosis.

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Robin BackPainExpert

Physiotherapists & Back Pain Expert

Twenty years ago I was lucky to survive a serious hockey injury. In a sport where big men zoomaround on hard ice and solid wood sticks are slung furiously, a difficult back injury is what every player fears.
It took a long time for me to climb back to a normal life. But when I did, I was determined to spend the rest of his life helping back pain victims everywhere.
As a physiotherapist and back pain expert I have treated thousands of patients over 20 years, built a respected back pain clinic, created the site BackPainSecrets.Com and authored the book “Back Pain Secrets.”
Learn more about me here.