Central canal stenosis can cause patients to experience symptoms of pain, numbness, stiffness, muscle weakness, cramping and more. Some patients are completely asymptomatic while others experience symptoms that become gradually worse over time.
The word stenosis is derived from the Greek word stenos, meaning narrow. Canal refers to the central vertebral canal which houses the spinal cord. Canal stenosis literally means narrowing of the central vertebral canal housing the spinal cord. Central spinal canal stenosis is referred to by various names such as spinal stenosis, canal stenosis, or central stenosis. The condition can occur as the result of a number of spinal conditions that cause the elements of the spine to become inflamed, enlarged or shifted out of place. Many of these conditions are caused by the natural aging process. The continuous pressure placed on the neck and back by movement and gravity stimulates bone to reinforce itself by depositing additional bone. Other factors, such as congenital spinal stenosis, other congenital defects, environmental stresses, and spinal tumors, can also cause central canal stenosis.
Since many spinal conditions present with similar symptoms, accurate diagnosis requires a very thorough medical examination and diagnostic testing. Most diagnoses will be formed at the conclusion of one or more of the following:
- Notation of a patient’s complete medical history
- Physical exam to test for strength and reflexes
- CT scan
- Bone scan
- Blood tests
After accurate diagnosis of central canal stenosis, general physicians or back specialists develop a specific treatment plan for each patient. In some cases, this may include surgery. The minimally invasive, endoscopic outpatient procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute utilize small incisions, less anesthesia, and require a shorter convalescent period than traditional open spinal surgery. This allows some patients to resume normal. less demanding activities in as little as two weeks. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about our safe and effective procedures.