Overview of severe central canal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a common term in the world of spine conditions, and it refers to the narrowing of the space within the spinal foramen, which are the pathways that allow nerve roots to leave the spinal canal. To learn about the meaning of severe central canal stenosis and the options to treat this condition, read the following article.

What is severe central canal stenosis?

Severe central canal stenosis is the severe narrowing of the spinal canal — the hollow passageway in the spine that hosts the spinal cord and peripheral nerve roots. While the spinal canal can sometimes be narrow due to genetics, a common cause of severe central canal stenosis is the development of a spine condition that takes up space in the spine and narrows empty spaces.

Conditions that can cause severe central canal stenosis

Often, when central canal stenosis develops, a small portion of the spine becomes damaged and causes that section of the spine to move out of alignment. As part of the spine moving out of alignment, the space within the spinal canal can begin to narrow, increasing the risk of nerve compression and chronic symptoms.

Common spine conditions that can cause central canal stenosis include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal arthritis
  • Spondylolisthesis

These conditions can lead to nerve compression, which can cause debilitating central canal stenosis symptoms.

Severe central canal stenosis symptoms

Canal stenosis symptoms often begin gradually as the spine condition first develops. However, as the condition worsens with time, the symptoms can turn severe, sometimes even preventing patients from performing daily activities like driving, walking and doing household chores. These symptoms can often be treated conservatively, though sometimes surgery is recommended depending on the severity of your canal stenosis.

The common symptoms of severe canal stenosis include pain, muscle weakness, slowed reflexes, numbness, tingling and a burning sensation. Difficulty walking or turning your head can also occur, depending on location of condition, as well as loss of bladder or bowel control, which requires immediate medical attention.

Treatments for severe central canal stenosis

For many patients, the symptoms of canal stenosis can be managed through a series of conservative treatments designed to relieve pressure on the pinched nerve root in the spinal canal. These conservative treatments for canal stenosis can vary depending on the cause of the spinal canal narrowing, but often include one or more of the following methods:

  • Pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Limited rest
  • Low-impact exercises
  • Weight management
  • Steroid injections

These treatments often take several weeks or months before significant relief can be measured. If you are still suffering from symptoms of canal stenosis, your physician may recommend that you consider spine surgery, such as the minimally invasive treatments offered at Laser Spine Institute. To learn about the advantages of our outpatient procedures, contact us today.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine procedures, offering patients a shorter recovery time and a lower risk of complication.^ Since 2005, our procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Find out if you’re a candidate for one of our minimally invasive procedures by reaching out to us today and requesting a free MRI review* from our team.