Stenosis and Leg Pain

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Stenosis is defined as the narrowing of a neuronal passage.  It can occur in the spinal canal where the spinal cord transverses (Central Stenosis) or at the neural foramen where the peripheral nerve emerges from the spinal column (Foraminal Stenosis).  Symptoms typically denote which form is present but X-ray imaging and MRI will definitively diagnosis the problem.  Foraminal stenosis typically presents with pain in one leg that is exacerbated by rotating and bending to the same side of pain.  Central canal stenosis typically presents with pain in both legs that is relieved with forward bending at the hips.  In both cases it can be very painful and can cause neurologic symptoms due to compression of nerve tissue.  The pain may be accompanied by tingling, numbness, muscle weakness, and loss of balance and/or coordination.    Without treatment permanent nerve damage can occur.   

     Cases increase in incidence with age, commonly affecting people over the age of 50.  Causes include advanced arthritis, disc bulges and herniations, and overgrowth of surrounding tissues and ligaments.  Examination and testing should be done to rule out serious vascular issues (Vascular Claudication).  Vascular compression clinically presents differently than neurogenic stenosis.  Most notably, vascular compression causes pain in the lower leg and foot and is usually not accompanied by back pain.  It does not usually have sensory deficit signs such as numbness.  Skin changes may be present in chronic states such as hair loss on the lower leg and foot, ulcers, and discoloration.  The affected leg may also be colder to the touch than the non affected side.  If you do suspect vascular compression immediate medical attention is recommended.  

     Cases of stenosis of the spinal cord or spinal nerves respond very well to conservative forms of treatment such as physical therapy, chiropractic, and manual therapy.  Conservative treatments should be considered before invasive back surgery in most cases.  Dr Collin Dolan of Dolan Family Chiropractic in Aurora, IL has successfully treated stenosis in his practice for years.  Using a special chiropractic table, Dr Dolan can manually decompress the affected area and open up the passageways to take pressure off the nerve and relieve pain.  He incorporates physical therapy and special stretches to help relieve pressure from the area.  Through education, patients suffering from stenosis pain can learn ways to relieve the pressure and live relatively pain free without the use of harsh prescription drugs and invasive back surgeries.  If you have any questions for the doctor call (630)236-3090 or check out the office website at http://Dolanchiro.com.

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