What is spinal stenosis?
Simply put, the word “stenosis” is a medical term meaning the narrowing of a passage or channel in your body. So spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the open passages in your spine. This narrowing decreases the space in which your spinal nerves travel. The lack of available space can cause your spinal nerves to become pinched or inflamed.
Pain in your legs, buttocks, or even feet can result from spinal stenosis in your lower back: because the condition affects your nerves, not the actual bone structure, what you are feeling stems from the pinched or inflamed nerve in your spine. In addition to the pain itself, another symptom of spinal stenosis is that the pain might be alleviated when you lean forward; this is because, in that position, you are opening up space in your spine. Similarly, you may experience more pain when you are standing upright, because this position decreases that space in your spine.
If stenosis is present in your neck, you may feel numbness or tingling in your arm or hand, and you may have problems with balance. Additionally, the nerves that lead to your bladder or bowel may be affected, causing incontinence.
Spinal stenosis can result from one cause or a combination of causes. You may have a herniated disc in your spine; arthritis; bone spurs; or thickening of the spinal ligaments. Injuries or certain growths can also cause this condition. All of these situations decrease that space in the open passages.
“There are a number of treatments available if you have spinal stenosis,” says Christopher Castro, DO, a physiatrist at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey (OINJ). “What’s the best treatment for you? That depends on the type of pain you have, its severity, and how active you are. After test results and discussion, we can determine what might work for you. It can be as simple as a regimen of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, or it can include prescription medicine along with physical therapy and injections.”
Michael Gutkin, MD, another physiatrist at OINJ, agrees. “Once we determine the cause and extent of your condition, we can assess your options. Exercises that build your strength and endurance while increasing the flexibility and stability of your spine are always important, and we can help you build up your tolerance to certain movements while improving your range of motion. There are also different types of medicine available, and surgery can be considered if these kinds of non-invasive treatments aren’t helping enough.”
The first step is a thorough exam and evaluation. Once the diagnosis is determined, the treatment plan that is best for you and your condition can be built.
Why Choose The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey
At OINJ, board certified physicians work collaboratively to come up with the best solutions for you. Using innovative techniques and the most up-to-date research and technologies available, our specialists have one goal: to get you back into the best of orthopedic health. We work with each other, as well as with other partners in your care, to develop the treatment plan that will work for you.
Our multiple office locations that can be reached by one centralized call center make it easy to schedule and get to appointments, and we treat patients of all ages with injuries and orthopedic conditions of all kinds.
Christopher Castro, DO – Physiatrist
As a physiatrist, Dr. Castro has expertise in non-operative spinal care, interventional spine procedures, pain management, occupational medicine, and electrodiagnostic studies. Board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Castro incorporates medications, therapies, injections and lifestyle changes to help his patients improve function.
Dr. Castro completed an advanced fellowship at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ); held his residency at the Sinai Hospital Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program in Baltimore; and received his medical degree from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine. His undergraduate degree in chemistry was earned at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Michael S. Gutkin, MD – Physiatrist
Dual board certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in sports medicine as well as physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Gutkin is a physiatrist whose areas of expertise include interventional spinal and joint injection, pain management, rehabilitation, and spinal injuries. He is a partner at The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey.
Dr. Gutkin completed his residency at The Rusk Institute at NYU Medical Center, and received his medical degree from St. George’s University Medical School. His undergraduate degree in biology was earned at Ithaca College in New York.
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The Orthopedic Institute of New Jersey is a premier multi-disciplinary center offering complete orthopedic care, rehabilitation and pain management services to patients of all ages and activity levels using a customized treatment plan to fit individual needs.