Causes and risk factors for spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis causes some patients to experience an array of uncomfortable symptoms, such as pain, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling. This condition involves the narrowing of the spinal canal and can lead to compression of the spinal cord or any of the nerves that branch from it. Spinal stenosis is a fairly common condition and one of the primary causes of spinal stenosis is nothing more than the natural aging process.

Years of supporting body weight and contributing to movement can eventually take their toll on the anatomical components of the spine, making those who have reached or exceeded middle-age susceptible to a number of degenerative spine conditions. Degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, osteophytes and ligament calcification are all possible causes of spinal stenosis. Read on to learn more about the risk factors of developing spinal stenosis as well as the treatments available for this condition.

Risk factors for developing spinal stenosis

While age is the leading contributor to the development of spinal stenosis, the condition can also have many other causes. Spinal stenosis can occur as the result of a congenital birth defect or because of the presence of a spinal tumor, for instance. A number of risk factors can also contribute to the development of spinal stenosis in younger individuals, including:

  • Excess body weight
  • High-impact sports like football
  • Tobacco use
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Ignoring these risk factors at a younger age might contribute to the development of spinal stenosis later in life.

Spinal stenosis treatments

Those who experience the discomfort spinal stenosis sometimes causes can typically find relief from a regimen of conservative treatments. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), pain medications, physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and hot and cold therapy are all proven treatments for nerve compression that is caused by spinal stenosis. However, these treatments may not provide adequate relief for every patient, and if you try these methods for several weeks or months with no success, you may need to consider a surgical option.

Laser Spine Institute offers treatments for those who do not benefit from the use of conservative therapy but want to avoid the highly invasive nature of traditional open spine surgery. Our minimally invasive procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck or back pain and they provide many advantages compared to traditional open spine surgery, such as smaller incisions, lower complication rates and no lengthy recovery.^ Contact us to learn more about our outpatient procedures.

Through a less than 1-inch incision that is muscle sparing, our highly skilled surgeons are able to decompress the impacted nerve root or spinal cord by removing a portion of the damaged disc that is protruding into the spinal canal. If your condition is more severe, a stabilization procedure may also be performed to remove the damaged disc and insert an implant in the open segment of the spine. To find out if you are a candidate for our spinal stenosis surgery, reach out to our dedicated team today and ask for a free MRI review.*

Browse Related Resources