Spinal Stenosis: Narrowing of the Spinal Canal

Pramod Saini

, Health A2Z


Spinal Stenosis can put some pressure on the spinal cord as well as on the nerves. It usually happens in the neck and lower back. The condition is often caused by age-related wear and tear. Today we are sharing thoughts on Spinal Stenosis, its types, causes, complications and more importantly how to treat it.


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What is Spinal Stenosis?



Spinal stenosis is the diminishing of the spaces within your spine which can put some pressure on the nerves which travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis happens most frequently in the lower back and the neck. People who have spinal stenosis may not have symptoms like numbness, pain, tingling and muscle weakness. Sometimes symptoms can go worse day by day.



It is usually caused by wear-and-tear in the spine related to osteoarthritis. In some serious cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may suggest surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.




What are the Types of Spinal Stenosis?



There are two main types of spinal stenosis. The types of spinal stenosis are restricted according to the spine condition and where it begins.



Cervical Stenosis


In cervical stenosis, the narrowing begins in a part of the spine in your neck.


1. Numbness or tingling in hands, foot, arm and legs


2. Weakness in hands, arm, foot or legs


3. Problems with walking and balance


4. Neck pain


5. In serious cases, the bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence)



Lumbar Stenosis


In this condition, the narrowing begins in a part of the spine in the lower back. This is the very common form of spinal stenosis.


In the lower back (lumbar spine)


1. Tingling and numbness in the foot or leg


2. Weakness in legs or ankle


3. Pain or cramping in one or both legs when you stand for a long period of time or when you walk, which usually eases when you bend forward or sit.


4. Back pain


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What are the Causes of Spinal Stenosis?




There are some causes of spinal stenosis such as :



Excessive Growth of Bone


The damage from osteoarthritis on your spinal bones can prompt the formation of bone spurs, which can grow into the spinal canal. Paget’s disease is a bone disease which mainly affects adults, also can cause bone overgrowth in the spine.




Herniated Disks



Disks look like cushions which act as shock absorbers between your vertebrae which tend to dry out with age. Break in a disk’s outer may allow some of the soft inner material to escape and press on the spinal cord or nerves.




Thickened Ligaments



The tough cords which help to hold the bones of your spine together can become stiff and solidify over time. These solidify ligaments can bulge into the spinal canal.







Unusual growth can occur inside the spinal cord, within the tissue which covers the spinal cord or in the space between the spinal cord and vertebrae.




Backbone Injuries



Accidents can cause fractures or dislocations of one or more vertebrae. Dislocate bone from a backbone fracture may damage the contents of the spinal canal. Start the pain and swelling of nearby tissue immediately after back surgery also can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.




What are the Complications of Spinal Stenosis?



There are a few complications of spinal stenosis:


1. Numbness


2. Weakness


3. Balance problems


4. Incontinence


5. Paralysis




How to treat Spinal Stenosis?



The treatment is based on three categories :



1. Through Medications


  • Pain relievers


  • Antidepressants


  • Anti-seizure drugs



2. Physical Therapy



It is very common for people who have spinal stenosis to become less active, in an effort to reduce the pain. But that can lead to muscle weakness, which can result in more and more pain. A therapist can guide you exercises which helps you:



  • Build up your strength and endurance


  • Maintain the flexibility and stability of your spine


  • Improve your balance




3. Surgery


Surgery is the last option for Spinal Stenosis. If your condition is not treatable through medications and therapy then the doctor suggests surgery.







In the above blog, we have discussed Spinal Stenosis, its complications, risk, treatment, and symptoms. It is a spinal problem which puts pressure on the spine and the nerves. It causes many problems in your back and neck. If you are dealing with this kind of problem then consult your doctor as soon as possible.


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