A high percentage of the American population suffers from some kind of chronic pain, which can manifest as muscle pain, bone pain or both. There are an estimated 40 million American adults who suffer from severe levels of pain, with about 25.3 million suffering from it chronically.1
The severity of these conditions varies from person to person, with some people suffering from a mild numbness and some from a stabbing and sharp pain on specific areas of their body. But because of its commonness, most people wave it off as nothing more than a sign of aging or a simple bout of muscle strain. This may be one of the reasons why most of the serious conditions that cause chronic pain remain undiagnosed. One of these conditions is spinal stenosis, a common condition in the middle-aged population.
How Does the Spinal Cord Function?
You might have heard of people suffering from paralysis after back injuries or accidents. This paralysis is often caused by the irreparable damage in the spinal cord. But why is this bunch of nerves in your back so essential for movement?
It’s mainly because the spinal cord functions as the primary communication pathway between the brain and rest of the body. It functions as an essential part of the central nervous system and the center for the body’s reflexes. It’s found inside the spinal column, which serves as a protective covering for the fragile nerves.
Damage or a slight change in the spinal cord may cause a wide array of repercussions in the body’s ability to function, which is one of the mechanisms of spinal stenosis.2
Spinal Stenosis May Be the Cause of Back Pain and Leg Numbness
Spinal canal stenosis is a condition caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, which leads to the compression of the spinal cord. This usually causes both back pain and leg numbness. Spinal stenosis is prevalent in people who are in their 50s and 60s, but it can also affect younger generations. It’s a fairly common condition, affecting about 8 to 11 percent of the population.3
Because of its straining effect on the spinal cord, spinal stenosis may cause serious complications, such as a mild debilitation and constant pain in both the legs and the buttocks. In severe cases, it can cause lower body or whole body paralysis, depending on the affected area.
Spinal stenosis can also be fatal if left undiagnosed, especially if it is located on the upper part of the spine or if it was caused by a severe injury. While this condition cannot be fully treated or healed, there are numerous treatments and techniques that can help in dealing with the symptoms.