A team of researchers has discovered that a technique to measure pressure in the spinal canal can increase the chances of accurately determining whether a patient with back pain requires spinal surgery. The results of the research were recently published in the European Spinal Journal, and researchers from Perth and Germany have announced that a technique that is used in place of conventional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may actually increases diagnostic accuracy.
The researchers focused on back pain that is typically related to degeneration resulting in spinal stenosis. As a result of the degeneration, the spine may change and cause the spinal canal to become narrower. Persons, who suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis may experience severe symptoms, like leg pain, weakness, and numbness. The pain may radiate while the person is walking or standing for long periods of time. Not surprisingly, such pain can have a severe impact on a person’s ability to perform routine activities and his ability to work and earn a living. But not everyone who has a narrower spinal canal ultimately suffers from lumbar spinal stenosis.
The researchers were looking at a technique that could help determine whether a person is eligible for spinal surgery to treat lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal surgeons have always found it difficult to determine exactly which segments of the spine need to be included in the surgery to treat the pain efficiently.
As part of the study, the researchers inserted a catheter with a pressure sensor into the spinal canal. Using this, they were able to measure the spinal fluid pressure accurately. They found that among patients who suffered from lumbar spinal stenosis, the pressure at the stenosis level was approximately 3 times higher than at the unaffected levels.
Spinal stenosis can leave a person in severe pain and unable to earn a living. Spinal stenosis is included in a list of impairments that qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
M. Stanley Whitehead is a Houston Social Security disability benefits lawyer, committed to representing persons who have had their disability claims rejected, and helping them recover the benefits that are rightfully theirs.