Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: February 20, 2020
Spinal stenosis can lead to the compression of crucial nerves in your spine, and the condition can develop in a few different forms. One of the more common forms we see is what’s known as lateral recess stenosis, and oftentimes it results in the compression of a single nerve root in the cervical or lumbar portion of your spine. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the condition and explain how we can help you treat lateral recess stenosis of the spine.
What Is Lateral Recess Stenosis?
In your spine, the lateral recesses exist between the central spinal canal and the foraminal openings. As nerve roots branch out, they pass through the central spinal canal to exit the spine through the foraminal openings. The area where the central canal narrows into the foraminal canal prior to the foraminal opening is known as the lateral recess. Nerves passing through this area can become impinged if the opening narrows due to shifting spinal structures. Some of the most common causes of lateral recess stenosis include:
- Disc Degeneration and Intervertebral Desiccation
- Bulging or Herniated Discs
- Arthritic Damage
- Ligament Damage
- Spinal Canal Misalignment
Symptoms of lateral recess stenosis include pain, a tingling sensation, and muscle weakness both in the area of the impingement and in the area of the body affected by the nerve. If the recess stenosis is in the cervical spine, symptoms may appear in the neck, shoulders, arms or hands, while lumbar recess stenosis can lead to symptom expression in the legs and feet. You may also notice range of motion limitations and functional deficits in your hands and feet depending on the nature of the impingement.
Treating Lateral Recess Stenosis
Many patients find relief from nerve compression as a result of lateral recess stenosis from conservative treatments. These non-invasive options help to free the compression and improve functional capacity while decreasing discomfort. Treatments like exercise, targeted stretching, dietary and weight improvements, physical therapy, spinal manipulation and anti-inflammatory medications are all used in combination with one another to help the patient find relief.
If conservative care doesn’t solve the problem, your spine specialist may recommend a minimally invasive surgical procedure. A spinal decompression operation can help stabilize shifted discs or help to widen the foraminal opening in other ways to help give the nerve more room to pass through the area unimpeded. Other surgical options may be considered if your lateral recess stenosis is caused by a larger spinal misalignment issue like scoliosis or kyphosis, but all of these procedures have a high success rate in treating the stenosis.
For more information about lateral recess stenosis and your treatment options, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.