Spinal stenosis causes, symptoms and treatments

Spinal stenosis is a condition that refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots. Spinal stenosis causes include congenital defects, tumors and a number of degenerative spine conditions such as bulging or herniated discs, osteoarthritis and bone spurs. If a degenerative spine condition causes inflammation or misalignment of one of the spine’s anatomical elements, the spinal canal can narrow to the point that one of the nerve roots or the spinal cord becomes compressed.

Symptoms

Spinal stenosis does not cause any symptoms in and of itself; it is only when a nerve root or the spinal cord becomes compressed by a spinal abnormality that symptoms appear. When this occurs, spinal stenosis typically causes patients to experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Muscle weakness

Spinal stenosis sometimes causes radicular pain, which is discomfort in areas of the body other than the neck or back. This is because the nerves in the spine are responsible for controlling movement and sensation throughout the body. As a result, the location of a patient’s symptoms will vary depending on the position of the affected spinal nerve, and can include the neck, back, hips, shoulders and/or extremities.

Treatments

Treatment for spinal stenosis typically begins with conservative, non-surgical techniques such as the use of pain medication, hot/cold therapy and physical therapy. If several weeks or months of these treatments fail to provide meaningful relief, a physician may recommend surgery. Laser Spine Institute’s minimally invasive procedures are the more effective alternative to open neck or back surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures have helped tens of thousands of people find relief from neck and back pain. Contact us to learn about our minimally invasive alternatives to traditional open spine surgery and to schedule your initial consultation.

Browse Related Resources