Spinal Stenosis Specialist

Nkrumah Neurosurgery & Spine

Louis J Nkrumah, MD, PhD

Neurosurgery located in Lake Success, NY

Degenerative changes to your spine affect its normal structure, which may lead to conditions like spinal stenosis — a narrowing of the space in the spinal column. This narrowing may compress or irritate the spinal cord or spinal nerves, causing pain and other problems. Louis Nkrumah, MD, PhD, at Nkrumah Neurosurgery & Spine in Lake Success, New York, is an experienced neurosurgeon who specializes in diagnosing and treating spinal stenosis. Call the office or schedule a consultation online today.

Spinal Stenosis Q & A

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the space in your spinal column. Less space in the spinal column means less room for your spinal cord and the nerve roots that exit your spinal cord. 

This narrowing may irritate, pinch, or compress the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing symptoms like neck pain, back pain, or sciatica. 

Spinal stenosis may affect any part of the spine, but most often occurs in the cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower back) spine. The narrowing happens over time because of the degenerative changes, like osteoarthritis, that affect your spine as you get older.

What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis symptoms vary in type and severity based on the location of the narrowing and the affected nerves. Common symptoms include:

  • Neck pain
  • Back pain
  • Pain that radiates into the arms, head, or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness in your arms or legs
  • Leg pain or cramping when walking or standing

Not everyone with spinal stenosis has symptoms. However, when symptoms start, they tend to get worse over time.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

Dr. Nkrumah takes a personalized approach to care and conducts a comprehensive evaluation when you come in with symptoms that sound like spinal stenosis. He asks detailed questions about your symptoms, including when they started and how they’ve changed over time.

Dr. Nkrumah also reviews your medical and family history and examines your spine to find the location of your pain and look for swelling and inflammation. He orders imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans, to diagnose spinal stenosis.

How is spinal stenosis treated?

Treatment for your spinal stenosis depends on the location of the problem and the severity of your symptoms. Initially, Dr. Nkrumah recommends medical interventions such as medications, physical therapy, and steroid injections. 

If medical interventions fail to provide significant relief from your symptoms, Dr. Nkrumah may suggest spine surgery. The goal of spine surgery for spinal stenosis is to increase space in the spinal column to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves.

The type of spine surgery he performs may involve the lamina, the portion of each vertebra that forms the roof of the spinal canal. These surgeries are called:

  • Laminectomy — full removal of the lamina 
  • Laminotomy — partial removal of the lamina 
  • Laminoplasty — for cervical spinal stenosis

Or, Dr. Nkrumah may fuse two or more vertebral bones to stabilize the spine and stop painful movements, a procedure known as spinal fusion. 

When possible, Dr. Nkrumah performs minimally invasive spine surgery to reduce tissue damage, post-surgery pain, and recovery time.

For expert spine care from an esteemed neurosurgeon, call Nkrumah Neurosurgery & Spine or schedule an appointment online today.