Spinal stenosis causes
While there are a wide variety of spinal stenosis causes, the natural aging process is the single largest contributing factor to the onset of this potentially painful condition. As we grow older, the anatomical components of our spinal column naturally begin to deteriorate as a result of years of regular use, which can cause the spinal canal to gradually narrow. This narrowing (stenosis) isn’t necessarily symptomatic in and of itself, but when the spinal canal compresses the nerves that it is designed to protect, the individual can experience an assortment of symptoms depending on the specific nerve that is affected.
The various spinal stenosis causes
Spinal stenosis can be caused by a wide variety of degenerative spine conditions, varying from patient to patient. In general terms, spinal stenosis refers to the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, but truly understanding spinal stenosis requires a closer examination of what causes the spinal canal to become narrowed in the first place.
The best way to think of the spinal canal is as a sheath that protects the spinal cord and essential nerve roots in the neck and back. The spinal canal affords just enough room for the nerve infrastructure to be protected from damage, but when the limited space becomes further narrowed, the nerves can become compressed or pinched, which causes spinal stenosis symptoms throughout the body.
Some of the most common spinal stenosis causes that lead to nerve compression include:
- Facet disease
- Calcified ligaments
- Bone spurs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Inflamed soft tissues
- Other forms of osteoarthritis
The first step prior to beginning spinal stenosis treatment is to identify the exact cause of the nerve compression as well as the precise location of the problem. In most cases, a course of conservative, nonsurgical treatment (such as medication, exercise, physical therapy, etc.) is all that is needed to provide meaningful pain relief, although in some cases surgical decompression might be warranted.
If you are considering surgery, first consider Laser Spine Institute as an option. Our minimally invasive outpatient procedures are often the clinically appropriate first choice and provide many advantages versus open neck or back surgery, such as smaller incisions, lower complication rates and faster recovery times.^ We offer multiple decompression procedures, such as a laminotomy, that have been effective in treating spinal stenosis.
Contact Laser Spine Institute today to see if you might be a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures and to learn more about the various spinal stenosis causes.