Stenosis comes from a Greek word which means “narrow.” It is also sometimes called stricture or coarctation. Stenosis is the abnormal narrowing of a passage in the body, such as in a blood vessel or tubular organ or structure, caused by a lesion that reduces the space.

What is Stenosis?

When the narrowing of a passage is caused by the contraction of a smooth muscle, it is referred to as a stricture. When stenosis reoccurs after a procedure, it is called restenosis.

Stenosis is caused by several reasons, depending on the affected part. The common cause includes inflammation, infection, diabetes, smoking, congenital disabilities, and calcification among others.

Stenosis affects different parts of the body in different ways. Dr. Ali at The Pain, Spine and Sports Institute will help you determine the damage caused by stenosis in your body.

What Health Conditions are Caused by Stenosis?

The most common health conditions include:

  • Spinal stenosis: It is the abnormal narrowing of your spinal canal which results in pressure on the spinal cord. Symptoms include back pain, a sensation of pins and needles and cramping.
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis: It is the narrowing and compression of your nerves at the lumbar vertebrae. Symptoms include back and leg pain, lower back pain, pain in the thighs, legs and buttocks that gets worse while standing.
  • Cervical spine stenosis: It involves the narrowing of your spinal canal at the neck. It is a bone disease caused by degeneration and needs surgical treatment. This can lead to body weakness and paralysis.
  • Coronary artery stenosis: It is the reduction of blood flow to your heart caused by narrowing of the blood vessels. Symptoms include accelerated heart rate, shortness of breath and chest pain.
  • Carotid artery stenosis: It is the narrowing or constriction of any part of the carotid arteries.
  • Aortic valve stenosis: It is the narrowing of the exit of the left ventricle of your heart where the aorta begins. It may occur at the aortic valve, above or below and gets worse over time. Symptoms include heart murmur, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Spinal Stenosis

Stenosis can affect anatomy differently. But all forms of stenosis are typically referred to as spinal stenosis. There are three primary types of spinal stenosis:

  • Foraminal stenosis: It is the most common type of lumbar spinal stenosis. It is also referred to as lateral spinal stenosis. Foraminal stenosis is caused when a nerve which leaves the canal through the foramen, is trapped by a degenerating disc or an arthritic facet joint.
  • Central stenosis: It is caused in the lumbar area when the thecal sac is compressed due to the narrowing of the central canal.
  • Far lateral stenosis: The narrowing of the area lateral, or to the side of the foramen due to bulging discs, herniated discs, development of bone spurs from the facet joints, and ligamentum hypertrophy is called far lateral stenosis.

Treatment of Stenosis

The treatment of stenosis differs based on the affected area and the severity of the signs and symptoms. Non-surgical treatments are standard for all kinds of stenosis and include:

  • Pain medication such as pain relievers, antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs.
  • Physical therapy to build up strength, improve balance and maintain flexibility and stability.
  • Steroid injection to reduce inflammation and relieve some pain.

If you are suffering from stenosis and would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Ali, please feel free to reach out to us today and we will be more than happy to assist you in getting the proper treatment to help you get back to living a healthier, more active life.


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