Do you have a throbbing lower back? Having a tough time moving around? You could be suffering from degenerative disk or stenosis.
If youve never heard the terms, degenerative disk or stenosis its time you did because it could be the root of your back pain. Your vertebrae are the group of bones that make up the lumbar spine located in your lower back. The nerves are encased in the spinal canal, which runs through your vertebrae and there is a disc located between these vertebrae.
A degenerative disk and a stenosis can occur due to either an injury or aging. As the fluid around the disc reduces, the spinal face joints begin to thicken and enlarge; this is called degenerative disk.
It causes the lumbar spinal canal to narrow causing spinal stenosis. Think of a garden hose that over time has a lime deposit build up inside causing the diameter of the hose to narrow thats exactly what occurs with spinal stenosis.
Symptoms Of Stenosis
Some people have no symptoms yet have significant stenosis while others may have many symptoms with imaging showing very little damage. Your symptoms are very individual and can include numbness or pain in your back or legs, and sometimes both.
You may have leg cramps and your legs can feel weak. On rare occasions bowel or bladder problems can occur.
Symptoms are often worse after long periods of walking or standing. The Degenerative Disk or Stenosis can come and go, and vary in severity from day to day or month to month. Increased severity can occur if you strain or stress the joints. Bending forward or sitting can help reduce the pain and in some cases relieve it completely.
Diagnosing Degenerative Disk
It all starts with a visit to your doctor who will ask for your medical history and then perform a physical examination.
X-rays are usually ordered because they can show narrowed discs or thickened facet joints. Your doctor may also request an MRI or CAT scan, which can show a more detailed picture as well as any nerve root pressure that is occurring.
Treatment Options For Degenerative Disk or Stenosis
Your first plan of attack should start with using over the counter analgesic medications like ibuprofen and aspirin. If these do not work, you need to see your doctor for pain management treatments who will start with non-surgical treatments.
Your doctor will usually start by prescribing anti-inflammatory medications. These drugs are usually administered orally but can be injected in cases that are more serious.
Anti-inflammatory drugs like Naproxen and Celebrex are commonly used. They work by reducing the swelling around the area as well as reducing pain because of the analgesic. Sometimes physical therapy is also prescribed to help strengthen the area and improve flexibility.
If your doctor prescribes medication, you will need to watch for side effects, which can include upset stomach and bleeding. Your doctor will need to monitor you regularly.
If these drugs for your degenerative disk or stenosis do not bring the pain under control your doctor will look at prescribing narcotic analgesics such as codeine but these should only be used for short periods of time because they are addictive.
Side effects include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. You must follow the directions carefully and your doctor will monitor your response to these drugs.
Make sure you tell your doctor about any changes to your degenerative disk or stenosis condition whether you are seeing improvement or not. Remember, sometimes changing your activities can also help, and dont forget about the importance of well-fitted shoes.
Surgery For Degenerative Disk or Stenosis
If medications doesnt work to relieve your degenerative disk or stenosis then your doctor will look at surgery. Only a very small percentage of sufferers ever have surgery because medications generally relieve the pain.
Degenerative Disk or Stenosis is much more common than you might think. Its time to stop suffering and get help.