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Spinal Stenosis Specialist

J. Rafe Sales, MD -  - Spine Surgeon

J. Rafe Sales, MD

Spine Surgeon located in Portland, Newberg & Lake Oswego, OR

Spinal stenosis is a prevalent painful back condition with many causes. At his practice at St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, J. Rafe Sales, MD, a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon, diagnoses spinal stenosis and its cause. He offers innovative, customized treatments to reduce your pain and heal the condition causing your stenosis. Call Dr. Sales or schedule a consultation online today to find out if spinal stenosis is the cause of your back pain.

Spinal Stenosis Q & A

What is spinal stenosis?

Stenosis is the clinical term for narrowing. Spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal canal becomes narrow. The condition usually develops in either your cervical (neck) or lumbar (lower) spine.

While it can be asymptomatic, spinal stenosis can also compress your nerves, including your spinal cord and the peripheral nerves that branch out from your spine and extend through your body. Nerve compression causes symptoms, including: 

  • Local pain at the compression site
  • Pain that radiates through your arms or legs
  • Numbness in your extremities
  • Tingling, crawling, or electrical sensations in your arms or legs

Depending on your condition, your pain might be sharp and shooting, it might feel like electrical jolts, or it could be a dull ache. 

What causes spinal stenosis?

A herniated disc is the most common cause of spinal stenosis. When a disc bulges into your spinal canal, it reduces the available space for your nerves. Osteoarthritis is another cause of spinal stenosis. As your cartilage wears away, you can develop bone spurs on your vertebrae that protrude into your spinal canal. Spinal stenosis is also sometimes due to ligament thickening or degenerative disc disease. 

How is the cause of spinal stenosis diagnosed?

Dr. Sales provides comprehensive exams to diagnose spinal stenosis and identify its cause. After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, he examines your spine and looks for signs of nerve compression, inflammation, or abnormal structures. He may order X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans to examine your spine and the surrounding tissues in more detail. 

How is spinal stenosis treated?

Once Dr. Sales understands your condition, he offers customized treatment plans to relieve your pain and address the condition causing your spinal stenosis. He begins with a conservative approach and may try spinal injections and physical therapy to alleviate your pain. 

When these treatments aren’t effective, Dr. Sales can recommend a wide range of spine surgeries to repair the underlying cause of your stenosis. For example, some of the available procedures include:

  • Artificial disc replacement
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spinal fusion
  • Microdiscectomy
  • Laminectomy
  • Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)

Dr. Sales uses state-of-the-art minimally invasive techniques and innovative implants and devices to repair your spine and reverse spinal stenosis. 

Call Dr. Sales or schedule an appointment online today for expert orthopedic care for spinal stenosis and other painful back conditions.