Are you having a spinal stenosis relapse? It is not surprising, since symptoms associated with stenosis are most often chronic or recurring and even the condition itself will continue to progress for life, even after it is successfully treated with surgical intervention.
Spinal stenosis is a normal part of aging and is found almost universally in the central and foraminal canals in the middle to lower cervical spine, as well as the lower lumbar spine. In some people, stenosis might be found elsewhere including the upper cervical spine, the thoracic spine or the upper lumbar spine in less common circumstances.
This essay details the reasons why stenosis conditions or symptoms might recur in both central and neuroforaminal forms. If you have an ongoing problem with spinal stenosis and wonder what the future holds, then this discussion will provide some important information on prognosis that is crucial to understand.
Spinal Stenosis Relapse of Symptoms
Some patients have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, but do not always have symptoms. This is very common. In fact, a significant percentage of diagnosed people do not suffer any symptoms at all, since there neurological tissues are not being compressed by the narrowed spinal or foraminal canals. Other people suffer some degree of symptomology based on specific circumstances, such as activity, position or other determining factors. These are the patients who typically suffer recurring symptoms.
Pain, tingling, numbness and weakness are all typical symptoms of spinal stenosis. These can come and go in patterned or unpredictable expressions over time. When symptoms flare-up, the patient will suffer and when they resolve, the patient can often live normally or virtually normally. It is common for some of the conditions to worsen over time as the degree of stenosis escalates, although some patients can live for a very long time without suffering any significant escalation.
Relapse of Central Canal Narrowing
Central spinal stenosis is most often a progressive condition. The normal aging processes that we all endure tend to narrow the diameter of the central vertebral canal over time, particularly in focal locations in the mid to lower neck and lower back regions. These are the areas of the spine which suffer the most structural degeneration and are therefore the same areas to be disposed towards central spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis treatment for serious and symptomatic cases is often surgical in nature. Various procedures can be used to resolve central spinal canal narrowing conditions which compress nerve tissues, such as the spinal cord or cauda equina nerve roots. If the treatment is successful, most patients will enjoy relief and a time without any symptoms.
However, aging continues and stenosis can occur in other areas of the spine which were not treated, as well as recur in areas of the spine which were treated. In fact, some surgical interventions actually increase the chances of symptomatic recurrence at the same location, since they tend to exacerbate degeneration and even produce scarring and other consequences that can directly cause spinal stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis Recurrence of Foraminal Narrowing
In much the same manner as with central stenosis, neuroforaminal stenosis is also normal to experience with age and activity. The same locations are most often affected, including C4 to T1 in the neck and L4 to S1 in the lower back.
Patients might have received successful treatment using nonsurgical spinal decompression or surgical intervention and wonder why they may suffer pain after their initial time of relief. Aging continues after treatment and can cause new areas of foraminal stenosis to develop, as well as recurrent stenosis at previously treated levels.
Once again, the nature of previous treatment might encourage or discourage this recurrence, so it is crucial that patients research their many options for care and select the one that will most likely achieve the therapeutic goal with minimal chance for symptomatic recurrence in the future.