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The Age of Spinal Stenosis: August 10, 2011

Oh, your aching back, nearly all of us will experience some sort of back pain. The list of causes is long from poor posture, being overweight, heredity, injury and most commonly, age.

“We estimate that in ten years by 2021 that the presentation of spinal stenosis due to arthritis will double,” says Dr. Jon Kimball, an orthopedic spine surgeon on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Sometimes called the silent epidemic, spinal stenosis is a degenerative condition that causes a narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the nerves. It’s frequently linked to arthritis.

“We expect that as baby boomers are starting to show more signs of arthritis as they age that we are going to see every manifestation of arthritis including spinal stenosis,” says Dr. Kimball.

While this degeneration is linked to older adults, commonly over the age of 50, younger people are starting to feel the pinch.

After years of wear and tear, former football player Pat Pinner works to keep his back loose.

“Primarily I like to jog, but I also do resistance training or weight training.”

A decade behind the baby boomers, he fears arthritis is creeping up.

“A lot of times you’re just completely immobilized, you can’t move, you have to lay in bed.”

The symptomatic ‘pinched nerve’ can show up as pain in the back, legs or buttocks. Spinal stenosis is typically treated through medication, therapy and if all else fails; surgery.

“Our hope is that progress we have seen over the last 10 or 20 years will continue and that we will be able to better manage things such as spinal stenosis,” says Dr. Kimball.

Pat hopes age works in his favor, as the masses who came before him, aren’t taking their diagnosis in stride.