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Spinal Stenosis

The vertebral column can be affected by stenosis (narrowing of the vertebral canal) from causes other than a slipped and protruding disk, including wear of the facet joints and osteophyte formation. This condition, which is not common, mainly affects those over 60 years old, especially middle-aged former wrestlers and weightlifters who have sustained strenuous loads to the back, mainly in the lower back.

Symptoms and diagnosis

– The symptoms are often indeterminate, with vague discomfort.
– Pain starts in the back, especially when it is straightened from the flexed position.
– Pain and weakness are felt in the legs after walking a short distance. The pain recedes at rest, especially if the patient is sitting down, but returns after further brief exertion.
– An X-ray examination and a CT or MRI scan confirm the diagnosis.
– Other possible causes of the pain, for example arteriosclerosis, have to be eliminated.

Treatment

The doctor may:

– prescribe physiotherapy;
– prescribe a corset;
– operate in exceptional cases and remove the cause of the narrowing. It is, however, a major operation and there is the risk of relapse.

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