Understanding canal stenosis and its definition, symptoms and treatments can be a complex task. Any number of ailments affecting the neck and back can cause this condition – and treatment can vary from condition to condition and from patient to patient. Those who experience the symptoms outlined on this page should speak with their doctor to confirm a diagnosis of canal stenosis.
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.
Canal stenosis can be caused by a number of conditions, many occurring as a result of the natural aging process. With aging, the body undergoes extensive changes as it adapts to years of wear. The neck and back are especially susceptible to change over time since they are responsible for bearing most of a person’s weight. Anatomic structures can collapse under this constant pressure. The following age-related conditions may cause the anatomical elements of the spine to shift out of place or become inflamed:
- Bone spurs
- Bulging discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
It is important to note that other conditions, including tumors, cysts and abscesses, can cause canal stenosis. Any patient who experiences fevers, partial paralysis or difficulty with bladder control should seek immediate medical attention.
Some patients can be treated for canal stenosis with non-surgical therapies such as corticosteroid injections, bed rest and medications. If these conservative treatments prove ineffective, surgery may be necessary. The surgeons at Laser Spine Institute can treat many cases of canal stenosis using outpatient, minimally invasive endoscopic procedures. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about these procedures or to learn more about canal stenosis; its definition, causes and treatments.