5 Symptoms That May Indicate You Have Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a painful condition that develops when the spaces within your spine narrow. These changes put pressure on your spinal canal and constrict your nerves or nerve roots. In most cases, spinal stenosis develops because of degenerative changes in your spine, including:

Each of these spine conditions causes tissue to project into your spinal canal. And, as this tissue presses against the surrounding nerves or nerve roots, it triggers a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, cramping, and weakness along the affected nerve. 

You can develop spinal stenosis anywhere in your back, but it’s most common in your lower back and neck. In Garden City, New York, Dr. Benjamin R. Cohen specializes in diagnosing and treating neuro-spinal problems such as spinal stenosis. Here are five spinal stenosis symptoms you should watch for. 

1. Having sciatica symptoms in your buttocks and legs — or arms

Sciatica symptoms describe specific sensations radiating along your sciatic nerve from your lower back into your buttocks and legs. These symptoms often include shooting or burning pain, numbness, and weakness. You can even experience a “pins and needles” sensation in your leg or thigh. But, because you can develop spinal stenosis in your lower back or neck, you can also experience similar symptoms in your arms.

2. Experiencing pain that goes away slowly

When you have spinal stenosis, your discomfort usually becomes worse the longer you’re active. Then, it takes several minutes of rest before it subsides. It’s also common for your pain to come and go and vary in intensity. In fact, you can have debilitating spinal stenosis pain during some moments and discomfort that’s mild, or no discomfort at all, at others. 

3. Leaning forward to find relief

If you have spinal stenosis in your lower back, leaning forward while sitting or bending over a shopping cart can significantly improve how you feel. That’s because this action can increase the space in your spinal canal, relieving pressure on your constricted nerves. Unfortunately, when you return to sitting or standing up straight, your pain and discomfort typically return quickly and can affect your ability to walk even a block or two.

4. Changing positions triggers pain and tingling

Even the slightest movement or exercise can trigger muscle cramps and pain when you have spinal stenosis. When this occurs, you might notice it’s difficult to perform regular activities, and the simplest tasks can become an ordeal. Spinal stenosis is also a progressive condition and typically develops gradually, so you may notice your symptoms growing worse over time. 

5. Having balance problems or weakness

When pressure on your nerves become severe because of spinal stenosis, you can experience serious complications, like:

In advanced cases of spinal stenosis, you can even develop bladder or bowel issues.

If you have spinal stenosis or think you might, Dr. Cohen can provide a diagnosis and relief; call the office today.

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