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Back Pain Treatment

Spinal Stenosis

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Your spine is a column of 26 bones, or vertebrae- 24 of which are interspaced with cartilage. Spinal nerves run through your vertebrae to create the spinal cord, transmitting messages from the brain throughout the body. The surrounding cartilage is there to protect your spinal nerves.


Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in your spine. This minimizes the capacity for your spinal nerves to branch off of your spinal cord, resulting in pinching or compression of your nerves. The irritation can lead to loss of sensation, back pain and sciatica

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

While you can be born with a narrow spinal column, spinal stenosis most often develops overtime from general wear-and-tear that eventually leads to spinal osteoarthritis. The most commonly affected are those over 50 years old.  Common causes include:​

  • Herniated Disc

  • Bone Spurs

  • Spinal Injuries

  • Spinal Tumors

  • Scoliosis

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis

  • Thickened Ligaments 

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis varies from person to person. You may not show consistent symptoms right away. Once they begin, symptoms tend to gradually progress with time. Spinal Stenosis can happen anywhere along the spinal column, the most common areas being your lower back and neck. Common symptoms include:

  • Back pain

  • Neck pain

  • Tingling or numbness in legs or arms

  • Weakness in legs or arms

  • Muscle cramps in legs

  • Pain in legs when standing for a long period of time

  • Bowel and urinary incontinence (seen in severe cases) 

Getting Diagnosed

 In order to receive a diagnosis, Dr. Bissell will begin with an examination and review both your symptoms and medical history. He may also recommend undergoing diagnostic imaging to confirm your diagnosis as well as pinpointing the origin of the narrowing in your spine. 

How to Treat Spinal Stenosis

Dr. Bissell strives to find solutions for your pain that don't involve invasive surgeries and uses multiple techniques to increase spine health and decrease symptoms. Common treatments include:

  • Massage therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Stretching exercises

  • Epidural steroid injections

  • Nerve blocks

In instances of treatment-resistant chronic pain, Dr. Bissell may recommend Ketamine Therapy. 



At APEX Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, quadruple board-certified physician John Bissell, MD, provides a wide variety of treatments for pain management that not only relieves your symptoms but improves the overall health of your afflicted area. If you're struggling to identify the cause and manage your pain, call us to set up an appointment. 

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