San Francisco Chiropractor and Spinal Decompression Doctor Comments:
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas in your spine — most often in your upper or lower back. This narrowing can put pressure on your spinal cord or on the nerves that branch out from the compressed areas.
So...spinal stenosis can occur in the spinal canal, or in the foramina...the openings where the nerves exit from in between the bones. This can happen from calcium deposits secondary to spinal degeneration or osteoarthritis. Or, the stenosis can be due to a herniated or bulging disc protruding into the spinal canal or foramina.
It is also possible to be born with a congenital stenosis...although this is not very common.
Bony stenosis is very difficult to treat. About the only option (other than injections or physical therapy) is to perform a surgical laminectomy, which removes part of the back of the vertebrae to open up the spinal canal and remove nerve or spinal cord pressure. Recent studies show this to be very effective as compared to nonsurgical options...which DID NOT include spinal decompression.
Spinal stenosis secondary to herniated discs, is usually treated by surgical discectomy...cutting the portion of the disc off that is putting pressure on the nerve or spinal cord. This surgery has questionable outcomes because it changes the way forces are distributed on the rest of the discs...which can lead to more problems (not just my opinion) .
I honestly don't know the success rates of these procedures, but I know there are lots of failures, and some patients are scared to death of them. So, what are your choices if you don't want surgery?