Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spaces within your spine narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the back, legs, and arms. The severity of spinal stenosis varies from person to person, and the duration of the condition can also vary. In this blog post, we will explore how long you can live with spinal stenosis and what factors affect its progression.
Spinal stenosis is not a life-threatening condition, so in that sense, you can live with it for as long as you want. However, the severity of your symptoms and the effectiveness of treatment can greatly affect your quality of life. In some cases, spinal stenosis can progress and lead to more severe symptoms and complications. This is why it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have spinal stenosis.
Factors that affect the progression of spinal stenosis
The progression of spinal stenosis can vary depending on several factors, including:
1. Age: Spinal stenosis is more common in older adults, and the condition tends to progress more rapidly in this population.
2. Severity: The severity of spinal stenosis can range from mild to severe. The more severe the stenosis, the more likely it is to progress and cause more severe symptoms.
3. Underlying conditions: Certain underlying conditions such as arthritis, herniated discs, or degenerative disc disease can contribute to the progression of spinal stenosis.
4. Treatment: The type and effectiveness of treatment can also affect the progression of spinal stenosis. Non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy or pain management can help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the condition. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
Managing spinal stenosis
If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, there are several things you can do to manage your symptoms and slow the progression of the condition. These include:
1. Staying active: Regular exercise can help improve strength and flexibility, which can help alleviate symptoms and slow the progression of spinal stenosis.
2. Maintaining a healthy weight: Excess weight can put additional pressure on the spine, exacerbating symptoms and contributing to the progression of spinal stenosis.
3. Pain management: Over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medication can help manage pain associated with spinal stenosis.
4. Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help improve strength and flexibility, and teach you exercises to manage symptoms.
5. Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
At the Spine and Performance Institute Dr Sharan has pioneered a new method of treating spinal stenosis called Awake Spine Surgery. Using a combination of local and regional anesthesia, along with twilight anesthesia, Dr Sharan uses a less invasive approach to treatment. This allows for a faster recovery after spine surgery with less pain.
Patients who undergo Awake Spine Surgery are typically able to walk a few hours after surgery and go home the same day.
In conclusion, spinal stenosis is a condition that can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the back, legs, and arms. While spinal stenosis itself is not life-threatening, the severity of symptoms and progression of the condition can greatly affect your quality of life. The duration of spinal stenosis can vary depending on several factors such as age, severity, underlying conditions, and treatment. If you suspect you have spinal stenosis, it is important to seek medical attention to manage symptoms and slow the progression of the condition.
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