Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

General Spine News

Spacious Relief for Spinal Stenosis

Back pain is an old problem that's been with us from the beginning of time. Solomon once said, "There's nothing new under the sun." It's a good thing he wasn't talking about treatment for this problem, because he would have been wrong. Doctors, researchers, and scientists continue to move forward with new studies everyday.

This study involved placing a spacer between the bones of the spine. This oval-shaped implant is made of titanium and is used to treat painful lumbar stenosis. Stenosis in the low back is a narrowing of the opening for the spinal nerve roots. Pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs occur when there is pressure on these nerves as they leave the spinal column.

Patients with stenosis often get relief by bending forward. This position opens the space for the spinal nerves. It's usually difficult to stand up straight with this condition. The implant holds the spine in a slightly forward bent position. This relieves the symptoms of stenosis while allowing the patient to stand up straighter.

The spacer also decreases pressure on the discs between the spine bones (vertebrae). The load is transferred from the disc to the vertebrae. This occurs at the level where the implant is placed. No changes occur in the discs above or below the spacer. This is important because other studies have shown that increased pressure on a disc can cause damage.

Kyle E. Swanson, MD, et al. The Effects of an Interspinous Implant on Intervertebral Disc Pressures. In Spine. January 1, 2003. Vol. 28. No. 1. Pp. 26-32.


*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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