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Spinal stenosis is a painful, potentially debilitating condition that is surprisingly common yet not always understood by those who suffer from it. Here at Premier Family Chiropractic our Brentwood chiropractor, Dr. Quinn Uzelman, has successfully helped many patients with spinal stenosis overcome their symptoms without recourse to drugs or surgery. Here are some of the frequently asked questions we are happy to answer about this health issue.
What is spinal stenosis? Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal, a bony channel within the spinal column that houses the spinal cord. Even under normal circumstances, this opening is just wide enough to accommodate the thick "cable" that relays every signal between the brain and the nerves. As the space closes in, the spinal cord is impinged to the point where it can no longer relay nerve signals correctly.
What causes spinal stenosis? Some people are actually born with a relatively narrow spinal canal, but most cases of spinal stenosis develop over time. As the spine ages, the gelatinous material within the vertebral discs tends to lose hydration and flatten out. As the spine loses height, stress on the vertebral facet joints leads to the formation of bone spurs that begin to fill up the spinal canal. The discs themselves may herniate due to an injury or chronic misalignment, with part of a disc pressing against the spinal cord.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis? The neurological impairment created by spinal stenosis can cause a variety of symptoms ranging from back or neck pain to numbness, weakness, and shooting pains in the extremities. The symptoms may affect your upper body or your lower body, depending on which part of the spinal cord is stressed; lumbar stenosis, for instance, produces the infamous symptoms known to so many as sciatica. Extreme causes of stenosis in the cervical spine can even some degree of physical paralysis.
Can I control the symptoms with painkillers? Painkillers may temporarily mask pain signals, but they do nothing to resolve the underlying stenosis, and they can do nothing for numbness, muscle weakness or loss of function. To achieve lasting relief from spinal stenosis, your treatment must correct the cause of the symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be unavoidable -- but in many others, chiropractic care can relieve the problem non-invasively.
How can chiropractic adjustment help? Our chiropractor in Brentwood performs spinal manipulations that shift herniated discs back into their proper position, taking pressure off the spinal cord, facet joints, and adjoining connective tissues. Other non-invasive measures such as massage, vibration board therapy, and prescribed exercises can help restore muscle tone and flexibility, allowing for optimal spinal support and nerve function.
If you think you might have spinal stenosis, contact Premier Family Chiropractic for an appointment with Dr. Uzelman. Our chiropractor in Brentwood is ready to help you take control of your spinal health and wellness!
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