Damage to the spinal cord, an information superhighway that originates in the brain, is a very devastating injury that can lead to paralysis. Most people have heard of traumatic spinal cord injuries because the sudden tragedies grab headlines from time to time. But, few people have heard of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the tube which shelters the spinal cord called the spinal canal (See Spine Anatomy 101 ). As the space tightens like a noose, this slow strangulation of the nerves in the spine can disrupt anyone’s life. Sara turned 68 years old last month. She has enjoyed good health and has been an avid golfer. But, lately she has noticed an aching pain in her legs that occurs when she is walking or standing. This new problem has really slowed her golf game down and has made it difficult for her to even do her own grocery shopping. The only way she can make it up and down the aisles is by leaning on the shopping cart because that eases her pain. Frustrated, she calls to ...
High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and other risk factors should be treated.
If you smoke, you should stop.
Treatment of TIA (transient ischemic attack, "warning strokes") may prevent future strokes.
Aspirin therapy (81mg a day or 100mg every other day) is now recommended for stroke prevention in women under 65 as long as the benefits outweigh the risks. It should be considered for women over age 65 only if their blood pressure is controlled and the benefit is greater than the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and brain hemorrhage .
Mosca L, Banka CL, Benjamin EJ, et al. Evidence-Based Guidelines for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women: 2007 Update. Circulation. 2007; Published online before print February 19, 2007.
Even back pain caused by a spondylolisthesis and lumbar stenosis can be treated with physical therapy. Because spondylolisthesis and lumbar stenosis can cause nerve damage, surgery is the natural knee-jerk treatment option that people think about. Of course, surgical spinal fusion is the best option to stabilize the spine if the nerves are severely damaged and in jeopardy of further damage. But, what about a low grade spondylolisthesis and mild stenosis? Can surgery be avoided? Absolutely, the body is able to compensate for the misalignment of the passive, spinal structures with optimal functioning of the active, stabilizing muscles. That's right; bones, ligaments, and cartilage are passive structures that sometimes fail; thus, the muscles and nerves which actively control the muscles can compensate for the problem. The spine has two systems, the passive and the active system, which can balance each other out. This redundancy allows for one system to compensate for problems in the oth...
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