Spinal canal stenosis most often occurs when the vertebrae, ligaments and intervertebral discs begin to deteriorate, eventually leading to narrowing and potential nerve compression in the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord. The compression associated with spinal stenosis can irritate or impinge adjacent nerve roots or the spinal cord itself, causing severe discomfort and a potentially diminished quality of life.
If you experience back pain or neck pain, it should be diagnosed by a physician. It’s particularly important not to ignore pain that is chronic, or lingers over an extended period of time. If spinal canal stenosis is present in the cervical (neck) region, you might feel pain that radiates through the shoulders and arms, numbness or tingling in the extremities, or weakness in the legs, among other symptoms. In the lower back, or lumbar region, nerve compression related to canal stenosis can affect the lower back, the legs, the feet and the toes.
Spinal canal stenosis, which is sometimes called central stenosis, usually occurs after the age of 50. There are several potential causes of spinal narrowing, including:
- A loss in the height of intervertebral discs (collapsed discs)
- Bulging discs
- Herniated discs
- Osteoarthritis in the spine (facet disease)
- Spinal fracture or other injury
- Spondylolisthesis (a vertebra that has slipped out of place)
Most of the time, spinal stenosis can be managed through a conservative treatment regimen that may include exercise and over-the-counter pain medicine. Sometimes, though, neck or back pain is so persistent that your physician might suggest surgery as an option. The medical professionals at Laser Spine Institute can help you avoid the lengthy recovery period of traditional open-spine surgery through the use of a variety of minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.
Contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about overcoming the pain of spinal canal stenosis, or to request a complimentary review of your MRI or CT scan. Let the award-winning surgeons at Laser Spine Institute help you find relief from neck and back pain.