What do canal stenosis symptoms feel like?

Spinal canal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal is obstructed by a damaged component of the spine, such as a herniated disc, bulging disc or bone spur.

Patients who have canal stenosis may not even recognize that they have a condition. Sometimes, when the narrowing of the spinal canal is brought on by another degenerative spine condition, symptoms slowly develop and may be confused with general back stiffness or another spine condition.

The most pronounced canal stenosis symptoms, such as pain, numbness and tingling, are caused by compression of a nerve root or the spinal cord. These symptoms can begin mildly and progressively worsen as the nerve becomes more compressed. For this reason, it is important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms so you can find a treatment option to help relieve your pain.

What causes canal stenosis symptoms?

Canal stenosis symptoms related to spinal nerve compression may include:

  • Pain at the site of the compression
  • Pain that travels the length of the compressed nerve
  • Tingling in the area innervated by the compressed nerve
  • Numbness in the extremities
  • Weakness in the muscle groups innervated by the compressed nerve

These symptoms may be experienced constantly, or they may be intermittent. At times, certain body movements may cause one or more symptoms to flare. Pain may also begin with mild discomfort and progress to become debilitating, depending on the severity of the spine condition that is blocking the spinal canal.

For example, spinal canal narrowing caused by a herniated disc may become more debilitating as a greater portion of the disc’s inner material seeps into the canal through a tear in the disc’s outer wall. Or sharp, shooting pain down the outside of a leg may diminish during the act of leaning over a shopping cart. Remember that symptoms do not normally remain static. They change with circumstances and with time.

Treatment for canal stenosis

In many cases, conservative treatments are able to relieve canal stenosis. However, if symptoms remain chronic and debilitating after several weeks or months of nonsurgical treatment, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn more about the benefits of our minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures. Patients who choose the minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery at Laser Spine Institute can experience a safer and effective procedure with a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open spine procedures.^

We’re happy to provide a free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.