How chiropractic can help spinal stenosis
Lumbar stenosis comes in two major varieties. There is central canal stenosis and lateral recess stenosis. Both are problematic and can cause pain and disability. Thankfully, both can be treated with safe, conservative, affordable chiropractic care.
Central Canal Stenosis
This type of stenosis can occur when the tube in which the spinal cord resides becomes more narrow, choking off the spinal cord. This can happen when the lamina overgrow, or hypertrophy of certain ligaments that support the spine (PLL, and Ligamentum Flavum). Sometimes, arthritic boney growths can cause stenosis as well. The major concern is the health of the spinal cord. If left untreated, it can cause permanent injury.
Lateral Recess Stenosis
The lateral recess is a section of the lumbar spine where the spinal nerves exit the spine and travel to the body parts. It acts like a boney tunnel for the exiting nerve. Certain spinal problems cause this tunnel to become more narrow. Back in South Dakota, we have a popular summer destination called Needles Highway. There is a tunnel carved into the granite. It is a fairly narrow tunnel, cars can only travel single file through it. It doesn’t look so tough to navigate when you are riding a motorcycle or driving a small car. But things begin to take on a whole new perspective when you watch a tour bus go through the tunnel. Buses just barely make it though. They must pull in their mirrors and make very careful maneuvers. And yes, occasionally, the big RVs do get stuck in the tunnel. Traffic can get backed up for hours when that happens.
Chiropractic Treatment Options
Stenosis can be effectively treated with chiropractic protocols. I have been treating stenosis with great success since 1995. The primary goal is not to open up the channel but to reduce the inflammation. Think of that tunnel on Needles Highway. We can’t make the tunnel bigger, but we can make the bus smaller so there is a better fit. Inflammation on the nerve causes it to swell, turning our motorcycle nerve into a tour bus nerve. With proper application of chiropractic therapies, we can reduce the inflammation and allow the nerve to return to its normal size.
In addition to reducing nerve irritation and inflammation, we can slow down the arthritis processes which are causing the tunnels to narrow. This is a critical step in the management of stenosis. If left unchecked, the narrowing will be worse and worse.
Dr. Andrew White
Stenosis Chiropractor St George Utah