Surgery to correct stenosis is an advanced, delicate procedure that requires a surgeon with experience. At St. Joseph’s Hospital, our Spine Surgery Program offers expert diagnosis and treatment for stenosis, using the most advanced techniques available.

What is Stenosis?

Stenosis occurs when spinal column narrows and puts pressure on the spinal cord and nearby nerves. There are two main types of stenosis, characterized by which part of the spine they affect:

  • Lumbar stenosis: Compresses the nerve roots in the lower back
  • Cervical stenosis: Compresses the nerve roots in the upper spine and neck

What Causes Stenosis?

Stenosis is often an age-related disease, but it may also be linked to the following:

Symptoms of Stenosis

Some people with stenosis experience little or no symptoms and are not even aware they have it. Others may experience:

  • Numbness or weakness in a leg or arm
  • Pain in the legs, especially after long periods of standing
  • Lack of bladder or bowel control

How is Stenosis Diagnosed?

  • X-ray: Imaging test that takes pictures of your bones
  • MRI/CT scan: Imaging test that takes highly detailed pictures of your spinal disks and nerves
  • Electromyography (EMG): Records electrical activity in muscle to determine how well nerve cells are working

Treatments for Stenosis

Stenosis can be treated using a number of non-surgical approaches, but in some patients, surgery is necessary. Treatment options include:

  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can help you learn how to move, lift and bend so you experience less pain.
  • Medications: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) include over-the-counter drugs like ibuprofen, which can be effective for back pain.
  • Epidural steroid injections: These injections treat your pain right at the source. We inject the medication into your spine during a quick, outpatient procedure, and effects can last for months.
  • Surgery: Decompression surgery creates more room in the spinal canal to relieve pain and pressure caused by pinched nerves. We may also recommend complex spinal reconstruction for advanced cases.

Contact Us

For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.