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The Narrowed path, Understanding Spinal Stenosis with Joe Cheatle MD
Episode 36th December 2019 • Back Talk Doc • Sanjiv Lakhia - Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates
00:00:00 00:40:37

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The things that you do in a single day, no matter how minor you think they may be, is going to have a profound effect on your body soon. Are you feeling sharp pain in your legs, for instance? It may be because you’re putting too much pressure on your spinal cord or your unhealthy habits are already taking a toll on your spine.

In this episode of Back Talk Doc, neurosurgeon Joe Cheatle, MD – whose interests spans brain tumors and degenerative spinal disorders to name a few – dives deep into spinal stenosis. While this illness is pretty common, there’s little knowledge and understanding among patients about what it truly is. Joe then talks about the causes and symptoms to watch out for. There’s no one reason for spinal stenosis, with genetics and lifestyle playing a huge role in acquiring this condition.

Although getting surgery is an option to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, Joe recommends exhausting all nonsurgical treatments and therapies first. Undergoing surgery should be the last resort as even medical professionals like himself want to avoid it if possible. Of course, if the pain is unbearable and changes the way you do your normal activities, then surgery would be the best option. There are different kinds of surgeries that you can take, which have their own risk levels and recovery times too, depending on the patient.

At the end of the day, Joe believes that building habits like avoiding vices, eating right and exercising regularly, and properly is what’s going to keep your spine healthy and strong.

Key moments in the episode

  • Personal habits to keep spine healthy and strong, promote wellness 04:28
  • What is stenosis 06:47
  • Common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis 07:55
  • Factors that contribute to the development of lumbar stenosis 11:52
  • Is spinal stenosis preventable 15:03
  • Percentage of patients who need to spinal surgery 16:41
  • Pain as an indication for surgery 17:46
  • Treating spinal stenosis symptoms to avoid surgery 26:02
  • Reasonable time frame for nonsurgical care 27:13
  • Indications for when surgery is needed 28:57
  • Common neurosurgical approaches 31:01
  • Recovery and rehab time for surgeries 36:14
  • New innovative surgical techniques for treating spinal stenosis 38:02

Every episode of Back Talk Doc includes a Health Matters segment intended to provide actionable health information you can immediately put into practice in your life. This week, Dr. Lakhia talks about gratitude and how having an attitude of gratitude can make a difference in a person’s overall physical and mental well-being. He provides scientific research that shows how doing activities such as journaling reduce physical ailments and mental stress. (18:19)

Links mentioned in the episode

·     Joe Cheatle, MD

·     Lumbar spine anatomy video

·     The Grateful Brain by Dr. Alex Korb

·     Article on neural biology of gratitude

·     Five Minute Journal App

·     6-Phase Meditation

Back Talk Doc is brought to you by Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, with offices in North and South Carolina. To learn more about Dr. Lakhia and treatment options for back and spine issues, go to To schedule an appointment with Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates, you can call us at 1-800-344-6716 or visit our website at