Although the symptoms may be literally identical, the treatment for central spinal stenosis is almost the opposite of what works for herniated disc. There is a large ligament at the back of the actual spinal canal which buckles with extension and actually narrows the space up to 63%. What works for spinal stenosis is flexion, something that for a herniated disc would be painful and possibly harmful! We have developed electrophysiological techniques to determine whether spinal stenosis or herniated disc is really responsible for a person’s pain, invaluable tool when both conditions are present, as they frequently are. Once we found out what the main pain generator is, we can use yoga to teach people what they need you on their own, and free them from a dependence on medications and even physical therapy.
Various anatomical conditions, either hereditary, degenerative or traumatic can narrow the long tube through which nerve fibres pass from the brain to the arms, trunk, legs and back again. This can compress the fibres and produce back pain, sensory changes and sciatica. Pain from stenosis usually comes on slowly, sometimes over years or even decades. Once again, there is no substitute for a good physical examination, MRI and electrodiagnostic technique to determine the cause and the appropriate [hypertext] treatment.
These MRI frames are cross-sections of the spine. The upper one with the heart-shaped opening in the middle is normal.
The lower MRI shows a truncated, narrowed central canal. This is spinal stenosis.