Sometimes it’s easy to tell what’s wrong with your body. You might know instantly when you break a bone or recognize the telltale signs of the flu creeping up on you. But, despite more than 200,000 people suffering from it each year, spinal stenosis isn’t something the average person can diagnose themselves. In fact, symptoms can be so varied that not even your GP may be able to make a clear diagnosis. It’s why a chiropractic approach is almost always warranted.
At Graybar Chiropractic, we help qualify and diagnose stenosis cases of all types, including lumbar stenosis directly affecting the wellbeing of our Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC patients. By thoroughly observing your symptoms and getting to know your unique spine, we may be able to make this diagnosis in your case, to put a name to the condition you’ve been living with.
The signs of lumber spinal stenosis
Stenosis is a narrowing of the spine, usually caused by age and/or a degenerative condition such as osteoarthritis. It constricts nerves within the spinal canal, restricts movement, and creates radiating pain that can take many forms – all symptoms easily confused with other conditions, such as a herniated disc.
In cases of lumbar spinal stenosis, symptoms can be even more complicated. In fact, severe symptoms of lumbar stenosis are often treated as individual conditions by general physicians. This includes sciatica, which is the result of inflamed nerves in the lumbar spine. Other ailments that may present in lumbar stenosis include:
- Pain when sitting or standing for prolonged periods;
- Tingling or numbness in legs, buttocks, hips, or thighs;
- Chronic pain in the lower body, usually worse in the morning;
- Restricted mobility of the hips or lower back;
- Trouble sleeping, falling asleep, or insomnia;
- Restless leg syndrome (RLS).
These signs all indicate issues rooted in the lumbar spine, however they can be mistreated as individual ailments or misdiagnosed if stenosis isn’t explored as an option.
Getting the diagnosis right
The reason a chiropractor is most well-equipped to make a proper spinal stenosis diagnosis is their ability to qualify symptoms collectively and contribute them to stenosis. This is done in several ways:
- A patient interview, for firsthand account of how symptoms are manifesting;
- Radiological imaging, to observe bone density loss or spinal canal abnormalities;
- Physical palpitation of the spine, to observe paint points or trigger areas;
- Range of motion (RoM) and reflexology tests.
By marrying collective symptoms to the hallmarks of stenosis – including nerve impediments and crowding in the spinal canal – chiropractors are able to make a correct diagnosis in the face of collected symptoms.
Qualifying it further
There’s even more reason to seek chiropractic assistance outside of a correct diagnosis. Qualifying the type of spinal stenosis occurring is important for formulating a management plan for the condition. There are three unique types of stenosis:
- Lateral stenosis is the most common form of stenosis, caused when a disc is bulged out of place by a narrowing spinal canal.
- Central stenosis occurs when a nerve root is constricted by the narrowing spinal canal, such as the cauda equina nerve roots in the lumbar spine.
- Foraminal stenosis occurs when the nerve is compressed where it exits the spinal canal, usually by a bone spur or area where facet joint degeneration has occurred.
Understanding each type of stenosis means formulating the right approach to treating the pain resulting from it. In this way, a chiropractor can provide assistance, including manipulations to alleviate pressure on nerves, range of motion exercises to improve mobility, or dietary advice to reduce excess inflammation.
At Graybar Chiropractic, we explore all options for stenosis treatment with our Wilmington, Wallace, and Clinton, NC patients. Our mission is to deliver a sound diagnosis and the information you need about your condition, using Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) to tailor our approach to your unique situation.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you’re living with unexplained chronic pain. You might not be able to self-diagnose spinal stenosis, but we might be able to!
Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.