Causes and treatments of canal stenosis

Get answers to canal stenosis causes using Laser Spine Institute's helpful guide.

Canal stenosis and its underlying causes can produce a number of uncomfortable symptoms. Many patients with canal stenosis experience pain in the neck or back, as well as traveling pain, numbness, tingling and weakness in other parts of the body. Depending on the exact location of your stenosis, you may experience these symptoms in the neck, shoulders and arms, or the lower back, hips and legs. It’s also possible that you experience no symptoms of canal stenosis depending on its causes and severity. To learn more about the root cause of canal stenosis and the treatments available to help you ease your pain and discomfort, read the following article.

Common canal stenosis causes

When parts of the spine, such as a disc, vertebra or facet joint, becomes inflamed or shifted out of place, it results in a narrowing, or stenosis, of the spinal canal, which is the central passageway that houses the spinal cord. A number of degenerative spinal conditions may also cause spinal stenosis, including herniated discs, spondylolisthesis, osteoarthritis, bone spurs and degenerative disc disease.

Many of these conditions occur as a result of the natural aging process, making them more common in patients over the age of 50. As we age, our spinal discs dehydrate and weaken, and they become more likely to shift out of place. Central canal stenosis may also occur at birth. Congenital spinal stenosis may predispose a person to the symptoms of age-related canal stenosis.

Canal stenosis treatments

Most doctors will begin treatment of canal stenosis symptoms with conservative therapies. These treatments allow many patients to find relief from their symptoms within a few weeks or months, though some require more or less time. The following conservative treatments may either be prescribed individually or in conjunction with one another:

  • Pain medications
  • Hot and cold compresses
  • Weight management
  • Low-impact exercises
  • Physical therapy

Be sure to consult a doctor before beginning any diet, exercise regimen or over-the-counter pain medication. Care should always be taken to reduce the risk for further complications and drug interactions.

Minimally invasive procedures treat the causes of canal stenosis

While conservative treatments are beneficial to many patients, some may require surgery to treat canal stenosis. If you experience continued pain associated with canal stenosis, we encourage you to look at all your surgical options, including minimally invasive spine surgery. Minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures, such as those offered by Laser Spine Institute, are often a clinically appropriate alternative to open neck or back surgery^ to treat degenerative spine conditions.

Our board-certified surgeons+ use a small incision to treat the source of your canal stenosis, without unnecessary muscle tearing and scar tissue. Since 2005, our procedures have helped thousands of patients find lasting relief from their chronic neck or back pain, setting us apart as the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery. Contact us to find out if our outpatient procedures would be effective for helping you get back to the activities you have been missing out on.

Through a free MRI review,* we can determine if you’re a potential candidate for our minimally invasive canal stenosis procedures.