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Young for Spinal Stenosis

Started by northforkmom on 10/07/2010 2:22pm

I was just diagnosed with spinal stenosis & I am 44 years old. The doctor tells me I am on the young side to have this condition & I want to stop the progression of it if I can. I am a woman, mother & live in New York. I have neck, back & leg pain & have a hard time sleeping because of it. At least now I know why. I am going to see a pain management doctor next week. I already belong to a gym (Curves) & eat healthy. What else can I do? What type of spine doctor should I seek out? Any tips on how to manage my pain so I can sleep? I did not injure my spine in any way & I don't understand why this is happening. I am also being tested for arthrithis. This diagnosis & lack of sleep has left me very depressed. Does this happen to anyone else? I'd love to hear from anyone. Mary

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5 Responses


hi mary...
sorry you too are suffering from this desease. i too had it start when i was young....i'm 69 now. the big question as far as treatment is what is causing the stenosis. it might be your discs or it might be arthritis or bone spurs. do you know what it is? the most knowledgeable doc for the spine are surgeons. nobody wants surgery unless absolutely necessary. however its good to get evaluated by a surgeon so he can analyze your mri. gp docs are not good at that. i'm glad you are eating right and working out. that really helps plus it will help with your depression. and yes most people in pain get depressed over their situation. acupuncture can help with your mood and pain. a more aerobic workout can also help substantially.if you have a report on your tests let us know what it says and then we can make more definitive suggestions......hang in there....pete


Thanks Pete, I am being tested for arthritis. I don't know how you haved lived with this for so long. How do you deal with the pain? Some days I am ok, but other days - like today - I can barely stand it.


hi again mary...
the proper drug for arthritis can slow its progression so seeing a rheumatologist may help you....
there may be a surgical solution to the areas that are the worst. if there is a bone spur pressing on the spinal cord the surgeon may be able to fix it. movement is very important to slow the progress of the disease. i found a variety of activities kept me moving. i did some swimming, rollerblading, stretching and bike riding. walking is good. do lots of exercises. mix it up. i'm in a wheelchair now but still do swimming and stretching. if you have arthritis in the facet joints of the spine it is very important to move as this generates the body's natural lubrication fluid. at night when you stop moving these facet joints may be troubling you. its a trial and error thing to find out the best position for you. some people like a firm mattress and and some people even sleep on the floor. i ended up on the floor sleeping on my side .experiment at night by trying to ANGLE your spine so it is in a position to reduce pain. you can put towels under areas or your body to see what area helps. putting a pillow in between legs if you are on your side helps some people. if you are on your back in bed try bending the knees. sleeping on your stomach does not usually work for arthritis in the spine. feel free to ask any more questions you may have.....pete


Hello Mary,
You are very young to have this disease and you may have been born with it. There is lots of good information on this site as to who gets stenosis and why, and the different types of stenosis are, etc..
When I first became ill I was almost paralyzed, I couldn't walk (L3/L4) had burning, allodynia, stabbing pain, loss of coordination, everything. My leg felt like a torch all the time. I couldn't have a sheet on it. I mostly stayed in bed for three months crying, shaking and tried the accupunture, chiropractic, physical therapy and then went to a neurologist. He put me on gabapentin immediately and within a week or two about half my pain was gone. It saved my life. I was able to go back to work part time and mostly when I wasn't working, I was in bed - flat out.
I had two epidurals and they didn't help at all so we discussed surgery as the only option left and I had a laminectomy on 12/11/09. The cause of my stenosis is soft tissue calcification, I am sixty and my surgeon told me I looked like mid eighties in there. I felt it too. I don't think there is anything dietary, or exercise or anything else you can do to make hard tissue turn soft again. My nerve was crushed between bone spurs, I would probably be paralyzed now had I not done the surgery.
I am very lucky - my surgery was successful and very easy to get through, not much pain and I felt improvement immediately.
I think you should see a neurologist and they will do some tests and pinpoint where the trouble is coming from and hopefully, why.
I wish you the best and hope you have some relief soon.


Hi Mary,

I can totally relate to what you are feeling. I am 38 and have got my diagnosis for Stenosis 3 years ago. My Doctor told me it's pretty much a genetic thing but, I have Arthritis that is playing into it as well. I too have the sleepless nights, constant pain and numerous other things from it. In my experience, epidural shots had limited success because of the limited space in the area they were injecting too, plus the fact that I already have a herniated disc in the same area too. Seek out the best Ortho you can in your area, find a good pain specialist if you're not seeing one already and go easy on yourself. One thing I've learnt with this is that there's not much you can do to correct the Stenosis yourself, a Surgeon has to do it for you.

Best of luck.