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Spinal Stenosis & Chiropractic

spine model

Spinal stenosis is when the hole or neural foramen, (a hole where the nerve comes out from the spine) is choked off.

This decreased hole or opening results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots leading to pain, numbness, weakness in the neck or back affecting the arms or legs as well. Spinal stenosis is prescribed by x-ray, MRI, or CT scan after a history and exam are completed.

Medical Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

Physical therapy: Exercises are prescribed to manipulate the spine and muscles into a position to help remove the pressure and pinching on the nerve. Physical therapy can be great for building strength, flexibility, and range in motion of the spine. However, it does not approach the compressed nerve or narrowing foramen which is the root cause of the pain.

Steroid Shots/Cortisone shots/pain meds: the goal of steroid shots or pain medication is to address the symptom of pain. This can work if it decreases the amount of inflammation in the body which can contribute to the pain. However, this approach does not address the stenosis. It simply addresses the pain component only.

Surgery: the goal is to create more space in the spinal canal so there is less to no more pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. There are various surgical procedures that can be minimally to more invasive in nature. Some people do have success with surgery but this can be short term because other areas of the spine have to take on additional load from the area that has been operated on.

Problems can be more pain down the road or disability having difficulty performing everyday tasks from walking to sitting for a period of time. Other surgical risks can include infection, a tear in the membrane that covers the spinal cord, a blood clot in the leg, and/or neurological components affecting how a body functions; ie bowel, bladder, sex organs, etc.

Chiropractic Care to Address Spinal Stenosis

  • Chiropractic care addresses misalignment of the spine along with postural distortions. When this happens, it can affect the hole or opening where the nerve comes out from the spine and can put pressure on the spinal cord. This can result in spinal stenosis, back pain, neck pain, numbness, weakness, radiculopathy, and other symptoms.
  • There are various chiropractic techniques that are used to address symptoms of spinal stenosis. Once the area of spinal stenosis is detected, the goal of the chiropractic adjustment is to take pressure off of the spinal nerve and restore proper alignment which opens the neural foramen, taking pressure off of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
  • Chiropractic has been shown to be effective to address the root symptom of spinal stenosis. In addition, chiropractic care is safer versus taking medications or doing surgery.
  • Contact Dr. Higgins for a complimentary consultation to see if chiropractic care is right for you. If you know someone who has spinal stenosis, feel free to share this article with them!


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