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Dr. Andrew Rynne
MD
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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What causes severe sciatica while suffering from canal stenosis?

I have had pain in my lower back/hips/buttocks extending down both legs for the past two weeks. It occurred two days after a dance class, which I have been taking since October. The pain makes me cry out when I move a certain way. It almost feels like it locks in place. I have been diagnosed with canal stenosis with it being severe at C6-7 and moderate canal stenoses from C3-4 through C5-6, which were causing pain in shoulder and arm for years. Scheduled to start P.T. and cervical injections until this new back pain appeared. It s different from other sciatica I ve had in the past and it s not getting better. Have put in call to doc but curious if this could be caused by a tumor, herniated disc, or other. The pain is severe when it occurs.
Tue, 15 Mar 2016
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Pathologist and Microbiologist 's  Response
Hello and welcome to HCM,
Canal stenosis at the level of cervical spine leads to compression of cervical spine and thus symptoms of pain, numbness, tingling in upper limbs - shoulder and arms.
Canal stenosis occurs due to narrowing of diameter of the spinal canal and it can occur due to bony spurs, herniated disc, thickening of ligaments, tumors, spinal injuries etc.
Radiological investigations like Ct scan and / or MRI will be required to determine the exact cause of canal stenosis.
Management of canal stenosis can be done once definitive diagnosis is made.
Sciatica is a neurological disorder caused due to compression of sciatic nerve.
Sciatic nerve arises from lower back and supplies to entire lower limb.
Compression of sciatic nerve can lead to pain and numbness in the entire region supplied by it i.e. buttocks, thigh, knee, leg and foot.
However, sciatic nerve involvement is seen in involvement of lumbar or lower spine.
Sciatic nerve will not be affected by the cervical canal stenosis.
The lower spine also needs to be investigated to look for any evidence of stenosis or any other pathology in lower back.
I suggest you to consult an orthopedician for clinical assessment and thus management of cervical and lumbar spine abnormality.

Thanks and take care
Dr Shailja Puri


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