Spinal injuries can occur for any number of reasons. In some instances, it is a traumatic accident that leads to ongoing back pain. Much of the time, the underlying reason for discomfort and limited range of motion comes down to nothing more than wear and tear. When compression on a nerve root causes numbness, tingling, muscle weakness, or other moderate to severe symptoms, a spinal surgeon may recommend a laminectomy.
How Spinal Compression Happens
The spinal column is like a tunnel. At the center of the tunnel is the spinal cord. Spanning off of the cord are numerous nerves that exit openings in the spinal column and travel to all parts of the body. Sometimes, the tunnel of the spinal column can narrow. We refer to this as stenosis. When stenosis occurs, the nerves that branch off the spinal cord become compressed. Compression does often relate to stenosis. However, spinal compression could also result from:
- Herniated disc
- Spinal trauma
- Spinal tumor
- Bone spurs
How Spinal Compression Manifests
There are specific symptoms that may indicate the onset or worsening of spinal stenosis and resultant nerve compression, such as:
- Pain in the back or neck
- Pain, tingling or numbness along the nerve path
- Decrease in motor function, such as poor balance, difficulty holding objects, or a change in handwriting
- Changes in bladder or bowel control due to nerve compression in the low back
How a Laminectomy Can Help
The lamina is one part of the small bones in the spine called vertebrae. Vertebrae are individual bones that stack one over another to create the entirety of the spinal column. These bones are shaped in a way that forms a ring around the spinal cord. The lamina is the back part of this ring, the side that is positioned close to the skin. Laminectomy surgery removes this part of the bone so the spinal cord and its nerves have sufficient room to function normally. Depending on the extent of spinal stenosis and compression, several vertebrae may be treated.
Laminectomy surgery is typically performed as a last resort when a patient is no longer receiving adequate relief from injections or prescription medication. In cases of severe motor impairment, such as bladder control, laminectomy may be considered as a first-line treatment.
We are committed to helping our patients regain the active lifestyle that suits them by alleviating back and extremity pain. To learn more about the treatment options available in our NYC office, call 212-606-1004.