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Thread: Spinal Stenosis

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member lor's Avatar
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    Default Spinal Stenosis

    My FIL has Spinal Stenosis. Can you tell me some things about it?
    Lorraine (lor)

  2. #2
    Community Member serene_butterfly's Avatar
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    Hi Lorraine

    Funnily enough just came across spinal stenosis earlier when watching Grey's Anatomy!! Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column which puts pressure on the spinal cord causing problems such as numbness of the legs and feet

  3. #3

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    It can make your legs feel like you are slogging though wet concrete at times. Like they just weigh a ton. That was probably the most constant symptom I had before my first surgery.
    -Fused L3-S1 (3 surgeries, last one 1-12-11)
    -4 Surgeries for infections, last one 2-15-11
    -T-spine 11-12 cyst, 7-8 deformity, DDD throughout, and stenosis at several levels

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    You have been given good definitions by Melanie and Serene Butterfly. What treatment is needed is based on the symptoms and what is causing the stenosis. Many people live with stenosis without too much difficulty while others suffer severe symptoms and pain.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

  5. #5

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    Don't know why I didn't remember this before but here I am now ;) You might want to mention to your fil something that might help with his symptoms when he has to go shopping. Tell him to grab a card and lean over it a bit while pushing it through the store. Leaning forward a bit helps open up the canal some. My docs also have told me to walk on a slight incline when I'm on a treadmill. Again because that leaning forward opens up the canal. It does help.
    -Fused L3-S1 (3 surgeries, last one 1-12-11)
    -4 Surgeries for infections, last one 2-15-11
    -T-spine 11-12 cyst, 7-8 deformity, DDD throughout, and stenosis at several levels

  6. #6
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    Lorraine,

    I was diagnosed with spinal stenoisis 5 years ago. The NS at that time said that stenosis is progressive and surgery is the only treatment for it. She said that there is too much movement at the joint and the body reacts by building bone to stabilize the area. This bone growth is what compresses the nerves & discs. She also said that conservative treatment will not help. I didn't pursue surgery at that time as I had a newborn to take care of. Instead, I started acupuncture and eventually got a epidural shot. Since then, I've been able to manage the symptoms with occassional trips to the acupuncturist, muscle relaxers and pain meds. My symptoms are gradually worsening but I'll hold out as long as possible. With the latest MRI, I think the stenoisis is now considered severe but I can manage the symptoms.

  7. #7

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    When I was first diagnosed with Stenosis I walked into my doctor's office. He was a fairly new doctor to me (family doctor). He asked me if I was having problems with my back. I certainly had, but was pretty used to the issues. He indicated he knew what the problem was by just watching me walk. When I walk I bend forward at the waist. Not because I want to, but because I cannot stand straight and walk due to the pain and discomfort. That was the start of a very interesting time for me that has been well documented in earlier versions of this forum.

    I find that same thing is occurring again. The worst joint in my diagnosis at the start of this process is my L5-S1. My surgeon always said he probably should do something about that joint, but the sacral vertebra cannot cause problems so he did not do anything for them. Here I am, many years later, still suffering from the effects of his inactivity. I believe there has been enough factual evidence that the sacral vertebra can indeed cause problems. However, it was not always considered such even fifteen years ago.

    Stenosis can cause pain, numbness, difficulty standing or walking, leaning forward at the waist when standing or walking (bending from the waist, not upper body). One may experience all or only a few of the symptoms.

  8. #8
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    Big Joe, sorry to hear you are now having the same symptoms and pain as before. I hope the treatment this time has better outcome for you when you decide when to do it.
    1979 spinal issues, 1993 lumbar microdisectomy L3-4, 1996 360 3 level lumbar fusion L2-5, 1999 open thoractomy fusion T8-9,
    2002 C3-7 herniations and T4-7 herniations, 2004 total disability, a new limited life

  9. #9
    Community Member marijo's Avatar
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    Smile more on spinal stenosis

    I also have this nasty condition. I had first op on lumbar spine in 2002, this failed miserably, and left me worse off, with a great lump in my back, and a screw through my spinal canal, and a surgeon in complete denial. In 2009, I had it redone by another surgeon. He gave it his best. He got rid of the lump. The op was a million times less traumatic, (I had no benchmark first time around, none of us do really, but the first man was a butcher I now realise) I had to have an additional level fused. Unfortunately I still get horrible nerve pain, but I am stuck with that. Last year I also had artificial disc replacement at two levels in my neck. Again, I still have pain, but better movement. I continue to have faith in the second surgeon even though I have chronic pain. Three weeks ago I came off duragesic and only told my GP two days ago. He said it would have been harder than coming off heroin. It was hard, but it had stopped being effective, so it seemed pointless to me. I did not want to up the dose, and be even more foggy headed. So right now I'm trying alternative meds. It took about two weeks before I started to feel a bit better. My only other problem is I have the most terrible insomnia. It has become far far worse over the last ten years. Sometimes I can go three nights without sleep, Nd the docs over here will only prescribe 14 sleeping pills a month, so I am stuck with just literally sleeping every other night if I spread them out properly. I would appreciate any ideas!
    :ambivalence:
    cardiac ablation 1997. prolapsed disc 1992. L5S1 fusion 2003 (failed, bad screw in spinal canal) Lumpectomy 2005, Carpel tunnel bilateral 2005.Prolapses bowel, bladder, uterus, V. Vault rectocele,repaired.2005. Sacral implant failed 2006. further prolapsed bowel. Subsequent ileostomy, removal of colon, rectum,. 2009. removal of bad screw, more metal work L4/5/S1 to stabilise.2010 cervical ADR 2 levels. Hypothyroid. retired 2003, further cervical stenosis problems. on pension& disability

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    Marijo,

    I think the 14 sleeping pills at a time is an insurance or FDA regulation requirement. They don't want you to get addicted to the pills. My insurance recently sent out a letter with an attachment showing the medications that monthly dosage restrictions goes into effect in January. There were pain pills on the list where they were restricting the amount to 28 pills a month. There's 30 to 31 days in a month . . . Thankfully, none of my medications were on the list (yet).

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