The word stenosis is derived from the Greek word stenos, meaning narrow. Canal refers to the central vertebral canal which houses the spinal cord. Canal stenosis literally means narrowing of the central vertebral canal housing the spinal cord. Central spinal canal stenosis is referred to by various names such as spinal stenosis, canal stenosis, or central stenosis. Foraminal stenosis refers to stenosis of the vertebral foramen, the passages through which spinal nerves pass as the leave the spinal cord and go to various body parts. Both types of stenosis potentially cause severe symptoms when the stenotic opening strangulates neural tissue. Nerve compression can cause pain, numbness, weakness, tingling and muscular paralysis. Since stenosis is related to aging, prevention of all stenosis is not possible. However, there are some steps which may be taken to retard the development of this condition.
Steps to take
Many of the ways to maintain a healthy spine are equally applicable to entire body health. This is logical since spinal health is closely linked to overall well-being. The spine supports the majority of your body weight and enables movements like twisting, bending, and flexion. Without the ability to engage in these movements, a person could not be considered healthy just as without spinal health many of these functions are impossible. Here are some ways to keep the spine flexible and supple over the years, as well as to maintain overall health:
- Quit smoking
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
Each of these recommendations can help keep your spinal anatomy as strong and healthy as possible; potentially combating the natural degeneration that takes place with aging including the development of central canal stenosis.
If, despite all efforts to prevent central canal stenosis, you suffer its symptoms, your physician may recommend a treatment program consisting of conservative, nonsurgical interventions such as physical therapy, specific exercises, hot/cold therapy, pain medications, etc. Some individuals, however, will require surgery. If symptoms persist after weeks or months of conservative treatment, Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn about how our safe, effective outpatient endoscopic procedures may help resolve your symptoms without undergoing traditional open spinal surgery.