About Spinal Stenosis
Spinal Stenosis is the name given to a medical condition in which there is narrowing of the spinal canal.(1) The narrowing may occur in any of the spinal canal namely the cervical, thoracic, or lumbar spine.
Spinal stenosis usually is a condition which arises with age but in some cases the spinal canal can be narrowed as a result of bony overgrowth called bone spurs. In some cases, thickening of the ligaments can also result in narrowing of the spinal canal resulting in spinal stenosis. Disc bulging is yet another condition which may result in spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis can result in a variety of symptoms which may make an individual virtually disabled.
Can An Individual Be Paralyzed By Spinal Stenosis?
The answer to this question is, yes, there have been cases where an individual with spinal stenosis has ended up being paralyzed. As stated above, there are a variety of symptoms that can be caused by spinal stenosis depending on where the stenosis is located.
If the stenosis is present in the cervical spine then the individual may experience radiating pain from the neck down to the arms, hands, and fingers along with numbness, tingling, and weakness of the upper extremities.
Similarly if the lumbar spine is stenosed then the individual will experience pain in the back radiating down the legs with numbness, tingling, and weakness down the lower extremities. Additionally, there will be issues with balance and ambulation difficulties along with problems with bowel and bladder control.
If spinal stenosis is left untreated, the spinal canal may get narrowed to an extent that the blood supply through the spine is obstructed. This results in significant damage to the spinal cord which results in the individual getting paralyzed. In such cases emergent surgery is required to treat the stenosis and prevent the individual from getting paralyzed.
In conclusion, it is true that spinal stenosis can cause an individual to get paralyzed. This is because if the stenosis is not treated the blood supply through the spinal canal gets obstructed resulting in significant damage to the spinal cord resulting in paralysis.(2) Thus if an individual has a known diagnosis of spinal stenosis and experiences worsening of symptoms then undergoing emergent surgery is recommended to prevent the individual from getting paralyzed because of spinal stenosis.