Central stenosis – also known as central canal stenosis or central spinal stenosis – is a narrowing of the central spinal canal, which is the region of the spinal canal that directly surrounds the spinal cord and cauda equina.
Normally, the bones of the spinal column, called vertebrae, form a long shield around the spinal cord. This column of bones surrounds the spinal cord, protecting spinal nerves from damage. The joints and cartilage of the spinal column also allow the back and neck to move, bend, and stretch. Occasionally, however, a condition in the spinal column can cause pressure on the spinal cord, resulting in symptoms like pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.
Central stenosis occurs when a bulging disc, herniated disc, bone spur, or other condition begins to take up space and encroach on the middle part of the spinal column, effectively causing a narrowing of the spinal canal. When central stenosis occurs, the symptoms are often:
- Dull aching pain concentrated in the lower back that may come and go. Pain may become more persistent over time or with movement, such as running, walking, standing, or bending.
- Lower back pain, tingling, or numbness that radiates to the hips, buttocks, legs, and sometimes the toes.
- In severe cases, leg pain that causes difficulty balancing and walking. This is known as neurogenic claudication.
If your central spinal stenosis symptoms are mild, conservative treatments are typically recommended, including rest, over-the-counter medications, deep tissue massage, and possibly, epidural steroid injections. However, if your central spinal stenosis has become severe and you have serious, persistent difficulty standing and walking, your doctor may recommend surgery to open up space in the spinal column and relieve the pressure on your spinal cord.
But, traditional surgery is not your only option for central stenosis, foraminal stenosis, and other forms of spinal stenosis. At Laser Spine Institute, we will evaluate your condition to see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive endoscopic procedures designed to take pressure off your spinal cord and relieve your symptoms quickly. Contact us today for a free review of your MRI or CT scan.