What is canal stenosis (mild)?

Canal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal, which is the canal through which the nerves travel from the spine to the rest of the body.

If the space within the spinal canal begins to narrow, a nerve root within the canal can become pinched or trapped, resulting in severe pain and other symptoms, such as numbness, weakness and tingling. This condition is not symptomatic on its own; symptoms only develop if a nerve root is pinched in the narrowing canal.

Causes of spinal canal stenosis

The most common cause of spinal canal stenosis is another degenerative spine condition. These conditions, such as a herniated disc or bone spur, can move into the space of the spinal canal and cause the nerve passageway to narrow. Most of these degenerative spine conditions are related to the natural aging process of the spine.

One of the most common conditions that cause spinal canal stenosis is the gradual thickening of the spinal ligaments, including the largest ligament in the spine, the ligamentum flavum.

Other conditions that can produce mild canal stenosis include:

  • Spinal arthritis
  • Herniated disc
  • Bulging disc
  • Spinal tumors
  • Congenital defects
  • Osteoporosis
  • Paget’s disease (abnormal bone destruction and regrowth)
  • Kyphosis or lordosis associated with achondroplasia (dwarfism)

Minimally invasive treatment for spinal stenosis

While the majority of cases of mild canal stenosis can be managed effectively using conservative treatment, like physical therapy or pain medicine, cases of severe canal stenosis may require surgery.

If you have been recommended to have spine surgery for your canal stenosis, we encourage you to research the minimally invasive surgery at Laser Spine Institute. Our minimally invasive procedures offer a safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery, allowing our patients to experience a shorter recovery time^ and lower risk of infection or complication.

Depending on the cause of your canal stenosis, you may benefit from a minimally invasive decompression or stabilization surgery. Both procedures are performed at our outpatient surgery center and are often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional open spine surgery. For mild canal stenosis, however, many patients may find that a decompression surgery is the most appropriate treatment choice.

Take the next step toward pain relief by contacting Laser Spine Institute today and requesting a review of your MRI or CT scan. We can discuss your treatment options with you so you can make an informed and confident decision about your spine care needs.