Relieving Your Nerve & Spinal Cord Compression

Orthopaedic Spine Care

Causes of Nerve Pain, Weakness, and Numbness

The Rochester Regional Health Orthopaedic Spine team provides the full range of care for conditions that cause compression in the neck, back and spinal cord.  Our orthopaedic spine care providers assess the cause of your pain and develop the best treatment plan to reduce symptoms and get you back to your regular daily activities.

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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a common, degenerative condition that is caused by the narrowing of the spinal canal, the structure that protects the spinal cord and nerves as they travel downward towards the arms and legs.

Often, spinal stenosis can lead to a combination of back and leg pain that happens while walking or standing and is relieved by sitting or lying down. 

Spinal stenosis can also affect your neck (cervical spine) region. This may lead to pain, numbness, or weakness in your arms and legs. If your spinal stenosis is at an advanced stage, it can lead to spinal cord dysfunction, a serious condition called “myelopathy” which causes loss of strength, balance, or coordination. Myelopathy often requires prompt evaluation and surgical treatment.

Spinal Stenosis Treatments

At Rochester Regional Health, our team offers a comprehensive approach to reducing pain and addressing your spinal stenosis. Typically, we will start with non-surgical options first – including, physical therapy, over-the-counter medication to treat pain and inflammation, and steroid injections or nerve blocks as deemed appropriate. It is important to recognize that not all spinal stenosis problems can or should be treated non-operatively. There are situations in which conservative measures have been exhausted, that surgery is the best or only next step. In other circumstances, such as when patients have symptomatic spinal cord compression, surgery is really the only means of altering the progression. 

For surgical spinal stenosis care, we offer:

  • Decompression surgery – options we may explore include techniques called laminotomy, foraminotomy, laminectomy or discectomy. These types of procedures are known as “decompression” type operations because they provide more space for the nerves or spinal cord that is being compressed.
  • Spinal fusion – if you have spinal stenosis and an instability of the spine, called spondylolisthesis, spinal deformity, or scoliosis, we may recommend a spinal fusion to stabilize and realign your spine. Fusion procedures are often utilized to protect the spine from instability and a recurrence of nerve or spinal cord symptoms. These various supportive or rebuilding procedures are utilized to help achieve spinal stabilization, reconstruction, and eventually fusion. 

Disc Herniation

The discs of your spine are flexible, cushion-like tissues that sit between the vertebrae. Sometimes called a slipped disc, a herniated disc happens when the jelly-like center of the disc pushes out through the outer layer, irritating a nearby nerve or the entire spinal cord.

Depending on where in your spine the herniated disc is, it can cause numbness, weakness, and pain in your arms or legs. On occasion, a herniated disc can even lead to spinal cord dysfunction known as myelopathy.

Disc Herniation Treatments 

Most herniated discs can be treated with non-surgical options managed by our team, including anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, and/or physical therapy. 

If these treatments do not fully address your symptoms, the next step may be a minimally invasive surgical removal of the disc. If you have weakness or loss of sensation, then surgery is likely your best option. Because herniated discs can and do occur in any region of the spine, we individualize the treatment you receive to ensure it works for your body and discs.

Rochester Regional Health’s Orthopaedic Spine team is the only team in the region experienced in lumbar disc repair. Typically, lumbar discectomy surgeries leave a hole in your disc after the herniated piece has been removed. Your body will generate scar tissue after the surgery, but you will still be at risk of a recurrence of herniation. Our surgeons are experienced in using the newest FDA-approved device for lumbar disc repair, which has been proven to reduce disc herniation recurrence.

Spinal Arthritis

Spinal arthritis is a common condition caused by degeneration and/or inflammation of the joints in your neck, back, or spine. Common symptoms of spinal arthritis include:

  • Lower back or neck pain
  • Stiffness or loss of flexibility in your neck or back
  • A grinding feeling when you move your back or neck

Spinal Arthritis Treatments

Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis include the use of anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy to improve muscle strength and range of motion, nutrition, and lifestyle changes to reduce stress on your spine. 

Surgery may be recommended if non-surgical approaches are not relieving your pain or other symptoms. Surgical options include:

  • Decompression surgery – Removing or releasing structures that may be pressing on nerve roots in the spine
  • Spinal fusion – Stabilizing the spine using metal rods and screws that keep your back in the right position.
female doctor illustration

Get Back in Action 

Our board-certified orthopaedic spine surgeons and skilled professionals will work with you to assess your neck or back condition, develop the right treatment plan that fits your lifestyle and guide you every step of the way.
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