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Spinal Stenosis Specialist

Ioannis M Skaribas, MD, DABA, FASA -  - Anesthesiology

Expert Pain

Ioannis M Skaribas, MD, DABA, FASA

Anesthesiology & Pain Management located in Memorial Area, Houston, TX

As you get older, problems like arthritis and herniated discs increase your risk of suffering spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the spinal canal that can cause nerve compression. At Expert Pain in Houston, Texas, double board-certified pain specialist Ioannis Skaribas, MD, DABA, FASA, offers cutting-edge interventions to address the cause of your spinal stenosis, including the Vertiflex® interspinous spacer system. To benefit from the most effective solutions for disabling spinal stenosis, call Expert Pain today or book an appointment online.

Spinal Stenosis Q & A

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis develops when the space inside your spinal canal narrows, which can put pressure on the nerves coming off your spinal cord. This narrowing can happen for several reasons, such as a bulging or herniated disc, bone spurs that grow out of the vertebrae when you have arthritis or thickening of the ligaments supporting your spine.

The nerves coming off your spinal cord that spread through your body have to pass through small spaces in the vertebrae. There isn't much room to spare, so if a ligament thickens, a bone spur develops, or a disc herniates, it can press on the nerve, causing pain.

As nerves can travel long distances when they exit your spine, the pain may spread the length of the nerve, resulting in arm, shoulder, pelvic, or leg pain.

Spinal stenosis typically develops as you get older; the changes that cause narrowing of the spinal canal tend to be a result of the aging process.

What symptoms might spinal stenosis cause?

Some people live with spinal stenosis and never know it because they experience no symptoms, or assume that the odd twinge in their back is from getting older. For others, spinal stenosis can cause chronic pain that has a serious impact on their quality of life.

In addition to pain, symptoms of spinal stenosis might include weakness and tingling sensations in your legs or arms. The location of your symptoms relates to whether you have cervical stenosis in your neck or lumbar stenosis in your lower back. 

Severe cases of lumbar spinal stenosis can affect the muscles controlling bladder and bowel function.

One of the indicators that you have spinal stenosis is if leaning forward relieves your pain. If it does, it's likely to be because the movement opens up a little space in your spine that temporarily relieves the pressure.

How is spinal stenosis treated?

Initial treatments for spinal stenosis are likely to involve physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and therapeutic massage. For mild spinal stenosis, these treatments are enough to relieve pain and other symptoms, but for some people, further interventions are necessary.

At Expert Pain, you can benefit from several cutting-edge treatments for persistent spinal stenosis symptoms, including epidural steroid injections and nerve blocks that contain a local anesthetic and steroid medication to reduce inflammation. Expert Pain providers are also highly skilled in performing the Vertiflex procedure for spinal stenosis.

The procedure involves implanting a device into your spine via a tiny tube. The H-shaped Vertiflex interspinous spacers relieve pressure on the compressed nerves by increasing the room in your spinal canal. Implantation is a minimally invasive outpatient process that causes little tissue damage or blood loss.

If symptoms of spinal stenosis are having a negative impact on your everyday life, get prompt help from Expert Pain by calling their office, or use the online form to book an appointment.