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Doctor insights on: How Serious Is It To Have Spinal Stenosis With Degenerated Disc

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How serious is it to have spinal stenosis with degenerated disc?

How serious is it to have spinal stenosis with degenerated disc?

Depends: Can be very or not at all. Depends on the degree of stenosis and whether it is central or at the opening where the nerves exit the spinal canal (called the neuroforamen.) after age 23 most of us have some degenerative disc on imaging. It doesn't predict your level of pain. If you take 100 forty year old americans with no back pain at all, at least 30 of them will have "bulging discs" on mri. ...Read more

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Dr. Thomas Dowling
755 doctors shared insights

Spinal Stenosis (Definition)

A medical condition in which the openings where the nerves leave the spine are narrowed. As a result of the narrowed openings, nerves can get pinched off, leading to symptoms such as pain, ...Read more


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How serious is it to have lumbar spinal stenosis?

How serious is it to have lumbar spinal stenosis?

Can be serious: Stenosis is an objective finding on imaging studies, like an mri. However the symptoms of lumbar stenosis determine how severe it is. It can be as mild as occasional pain or numbness radiating down the legs, to severe weakness, pain and numbness that worsens with walking. Depending on how severe the pain and disability is, determines the treatment. ...Read more

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How do I know if it is a bone spur or if it is a bulging disc that is impinging a nerve root? I have both with moderate foraminal stenosis in C6/7

How do I know if it is a bone spur or if it is a bulging disc that is impinging a nerve root?  I have both with moderate foraminal stenosis in C6/7

The CT/MRI CAN TELL: A compression of a nerve root in the neck can be caused by different problems; generally the imaging studies can determine the specific reason. The CT is better at defining bony contours and can generally tell if a spur is compressing a nerve (or not). The MRI is better at defining soft tissue contours and would be able to determine if a disc (soft tissue) is compressing a nerve. ...Read more

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Is it safe to do pull ups with degenerated and bulging lumbar discs? Would it cause more degeneration?

Is it safe to do pull ups with degenerated and bulging lumbar discs? Would it cause more degeneration?

Yes: Pullups, if anything, would probably reduce stress and impact placed on your lumbar discs, given that they are stretched, not compressed. ...Read more

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Help! Is it possible to have spinal arachnoiditis from a bulging disk?

Help! Is it possible to have spinal arachnoiditis from a bulging disk?

No: Unlikely from a bulging disc. Usually occurs after surgery or procedure to spine. Also can be if there was a history of spinal infection. ...Read more

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When is it time to have surgery with Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

When is it time to have surgery with Cervical Spinal Stenosis?

Easy question: It's YOUR call. The best way to handle this (surgery for low back/sciatica pain works the same) is to keep following conservative measures (meds, aquatherapy/PT, thermal therapy, etc.) until as Popeye says, "I caint takes it no more!" Pain, numbness/tingling will drive you to the point where you'll be PLEADING for the surgeon. Then, it's time. Weakness/atrophy in Upper Extremities? - Do it NOW. ...Read more

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How serious is cervical spine stenosis and how is it treated?

How serious is cervical spine stenosis and how is it treated?

Varies from not at : This varies from not at all to very serious. Treatment ranges from none to use of medication, exercise and sometimes epidural steroid injections to surgery. The only serious condition is when the stenosis leads to compression of the spinal cord leading to a condition known as a myleopathy. ...Read more

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How serious or dangerous is lumbar disk disease with myelopathy?

How serious or dangerous is lumbar disk disease with myelopathy?

Need more info: Lumbar disease usually cannot cause myelopathy. Myelopathy is compression of the spinal cord or an intrinsic brain disease. The spinal cord ends at about L1 (the upper most part of the lumbar spine) in most patients so lumbar disease (meaning the lower back area) doesn't cause spinal cord compression. A more specific question may be more helpful. ...Read more

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How serious is lumbar disk disease if myelopathy?

How serious is lumbar disk disease if myelopathy?

It is rare: In most people, the tip of the spinal cord is at the bottom of l1, the first bone in the lumbar spine, so all lumbar disk herniations miss the spinal cord, even large ones. There are some folks with tethered cords, so the spinal cord is elongated. Since the tether can cause the cord problems, in such cases a large disk herniation could be double jeopardy. This is rare but serious. ...Read more

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What is the difference between spinal stenosis and central canal stenosis and which is more serious. How debilitating will it get already pain daily?

What is the difference between spinal stenosis and central canal stenosis and which is more serious.  How debilitating  will it get already pain daily?

Interchangeable: Many radiologists use the terms interchangeably. In the mild range there is little correlation between imaging findings and symptoms with factors like fitness, overuse, posture, and muscle spasm have a large impact. Get strong, keep moving, work on posture! ...Read more

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My MRI says "spinal cord contact". Does it cause pain if an osteophyte or a disc touches the spinal cord with mild spinal canal stenosis? Thank you.

My MRI says "spinal cord contact".  Does it cause pain if an osteophyte or a disc touches the spinal cord with mild spinal canal stenosis?  Thank you.

Depends: An osteophyte touching the spine shouldn't cause pain. What we worry about is when an osteophyte or protruding disk actually compresses the spinal cord/canal which should be seen on the MRI. ...Read more

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Is it possible for spinal decompression to heal a bulging disc?

Is it possible for spinal decompression to heal a bulging disc?

Yes: There are definite case reports of patients who have medium sized disc bulges that have healed over time without surgery and with good physical therapy including spinal decompression tables. ...Read more

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How can one have cartoid stenosis and be okay after cta. Also how can one have cartoid stenosis and not have spinal stenosis? How is spine stenosis tr

How can one have cartoid stenosis and be okay after cta. Also how can one have cartoid stenosis and not have spinal stenosis? How is spine stenosis tr

Ultrasound: Or doppler can give a false positive result , usually in females. If cta then performed, and does not show a stenosis, then you can stop worrying. Keep reducing your risk factors. See stroke.Org. Spinal stenosis unrelated to carotid stenosis. ...Read more

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How could lupus affect the spine? Could it cause degenerative disc disease or ruptured disc?

How could lupus affect the spine? Could it cause degenerative disc disease or ruptured disc?

Autoimmune disease: Lupus usually does not directly effect the spine or disks. There are pains, myalgias associated with lupus. In general lupus is not a direct player in spinal joint issues. Lupus can effect the spinal cord and brain, but this is a completely different matter and generally does not cause pain. ...Read more

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Is it possible to have a lumbar MRI that looks "terrible"-trefoil canael, degenerated discs and herniation- but be not pathological at all?

Is it possible to have a lumbar MRI that looks "terrible"-trefoil canael, degenerated discs and herniation- but be not pathological at all?

Yes: Doctors treat patients not mris. Asymptomatic degenerative problems or disc herniations are very common on mris. Your doctor can use your imaging results along with your history and physical to guide your medical treatment. ...Read more

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I had anterior/posterior fusion l5-s1 in 2001. Spinal stenosis and ddd herniated disk l3/4 in 2009. Is it possible to now be developing arachnoiditis?

I had anterior/posterior fusion l5-s1 in 2001. Spinal stenosis and ddd  herniated disk l3/4 in 2009. Is it possible to now be developing arachnoiditis?

Quite possible: It's definitely possible. An epidural steroid injection or spinal cord stimulator may help tremendously. But first, one would have to be properly evaluated by a spine specialist (pm;r, orthopedic spine surgeon or neurosurgeon) and diagnosed with that. ...Read more

Stricture (Definition)

A stricture is an anatomic narrowing of any structure in the body with a lumen. Depending on the organ, the underlying causes can be traumatic, ...Read more


Dr. Ira Friedlander
1 doctor shared a insight

Stenosis (Definition)

Constriction or narrowing of something - duct, artery, passage way such as the outlet of the stomach into the small ...Read more