Spinal stenosis occurs when some portion of the spine is narrowed – this causes a kind of mechanical pressure or “choking” on the nervous tissue. Sometimes it can be relieved by a change in posture, so that the spine is slightly stretched – and pulled away from the tissue it is impinging. There are a variety of syndromes – which can affect the cervical, thoracic, and limbo-sacral region. It is not a disease of younger people unless they have congenital narrowing of the canal or who have suffered injury to the spine.
Local inflammation is a major component of this condition, because it magnifies the impingement. A variety of anti-inflammatory approaches have been tried: oral anti-inflammatory medicine can help in many cases, occasionally the injected application of anti-inflammatory or steroid medications can help, hyperbaric oxygen therapy with both inflammation and it promotes tissue repair, and Tobinick’s perispinal etanercept injections can cause a dramatically rapid reduction in inflammation and disability. Pain control and physical therapy are invaluable parts of the treatment plan. Sometimes surgery is needed.