Spinal narrowing risk factors are variables that increase an individual’s chances of developing spinal stenosis and the painful neural compression that can accompany the condition. While there is no way to completely avoid or prevent spinal stenosis, you can be aware of your risk factors and reduce your susceptibility to anatomical abnormalities or illnesses that can cause or exacerbate a narrowed spinal canal.
The following are the most common risk factors for spinal narrowing:
- Age – individuals over the age of 40 are at greater risk of developing spinal stenosis because of degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, bone spurs, or spondylolisthesis.
- Gender – while stenosis itself generally affects males and females equally, post-menopausal women are more susceptible to vertebral deterioration due to osteoporosis.
- Congenital conditions – some individuals are born with spinal canals that are abnormally narrow. Conditions like scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis can also increase risk of stenosis.
- Previous spine surgery – if you have undergone previous surgeries on your back or neck, the risks of scar tissue, Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, or a malformed fusion can contribute to spinal narrowing.
- Infections, diseases, or tumors – inflammatory disease like rheumatoid arthritis, tumescent growths, or infections like spinal meningitis are rare risk factors.
Treatment Options for Spinal Narrowing
If you’re suffering from stenosis-related symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in the back and neck, work with your doctor to design a conservative treatment plan that may include pain medication, epidural steroid injections, gentle stretching, and periods or rest. If weeks or months of these treatments prove ineffective, contact the orthopedic experts at Laser Spine Institute. We specialize in a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures that offer a welcome alternative to the risks and lengthy recuperation of an open spine surgery. Contact us to receive a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan, or to learn more about our state-of-the-art endoscopic techniques.