If you’re grappling with persistent neck or back pain, along with numbness or tingling, your symptoms could be linked to spinal stenosis. Pain MD Houston, led by interventional pain specialist Jessen Mukalel, MD, offers diagnosis and treatment for spinal stenosis at their private practice in The Woodlands, Texas. Dr. Mukalel focuses on providing relief from discomfort and restoring the quality of life for individuals affected by it. To explore treatment options and schedule an appointment, reach out to Pain MD Houston by phone or online today.
Spinal Stenosis Q & A
What is spinal stenosis?
It is a condition in which the spaces in your spine narrow, and pressure on nerve roots and your spinal cord can develop. The narrowing often occurs over time and can lead to neck or back pain and numerous other unpleasant symptoms. Treatment with Dr. Mukalel can offer you relief.
What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Symptoms you might experience if you have spinal stenosis include:
- Chronic neck or back pain
- Limb weakness
- Balance or walking problems
- Numbness, cramping, or weakness
- Limb pain
- Pain shooting down your leg
- Discomfort or cramping in your legs
Your symptoms might be mild or severe and get worse over time. See Dr. Mukalel for an evaluation if discomfort negatively affects your life.
What causes spinal-stenosis?
Numerous causes can contribute to spinal stenosis. A herniated disc, thickened ligaments, bone spurs, tumors, or spinal injuries might be the culprit. Factors that increase your risk of developing it include being over age 50, genetics, trauma, spinal deformities, and genetic diseases that affect muscle and bone development.
How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?
To find out if spinal stenosis is causing your discomfort, Dr. Mukalel asks questions about your symptoms and reviews your medical history. He completes a physical examination and might recommend CT scans, MRIs, X-rays, or other imaging procedures to diagnose your condition.
He commonly sends patients home with a pain journal, identifying occurences of lower back fatigue, soreness or pain, which always gets relieved with bending forward or sitting down.
How is spinal stenosis treated?
Providers typically treat spinal stenosis with medications like gabapentin and Lyrica®, spinal fusion, or laminectomies to reduce compression on the spinal canal or nerve roots. However, one-third of patients who undergo spine surgery experience pain again in the future.
New therapies, including minimally invasive lumbar decompression (MILD) for central canal stenosis with ligamentum flavum debulking, show promise. However, Dr. Mukalel prefers Vertiflex® Superion® to treat mild to moderate symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis, because it treats central canal and neuroforaminal stenosis. It is also a reversible therapy, which does not preclude you from future MRI’s, surgeries, or TSA scans. It is indicated for mild to moderate stenosis without leg weakness, but can potentially be helpfull for severe stenosis, if wanting to avoid neurosurgery.
Traditionally, this procedure was reserved for Medicare patients, but now Vertiflex, by Superion, is available for younger patients. Dr. Mukalel places an external spinal spacer outside of the spine using a minimally invasive approach. He offers the Vertiflex procedure if you’d like to be more active and not tied down to a tired lower back.
Dr. Mukalel makes a tiny incision in your lumbar spine, implants a Superion device, and closes the incision. Vertiflex is reversible and he can remove the spacer if your spine progressively degenerates and stenosis worsens to a severe state.
Other spinal stenosis treatments
In addition to Vertiflex Superion, Dr. Mukalel also offers spinal cord stimulation and radiofrequency ablation to block pain signals, Intracept® Procedure ablation, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), and more to relieve discomfort and other unpleasant symptoms.
Don’t live with spinal stenosis pain when a variety of treatment options are available. Schedule an appointment with Jessen Mukalel, MD, by phone or online to determine which one is right for you.