More information about spinal narrowing

Spinal narrowing, also referred to as spinal stenosis, is a common spine condition is patients over the age of 50. Spinal stenosis specifically refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is a space that holds the spinal column and the central nervous system, which is comprised of nerve roots that run up and down the spinal cord and into the brain. As the spinal canal narrows, the walls of the canal can impact a nerve root along the spinal cord and cause severe, chronic pain.

Because of the degenerative nature of spinal narrowing, or spinal stenosis, this condition commonly occurs in the lower back (lumbar spine) or neck (cervical spine). A degenerative spine condition is a result of the natural aging process and general wear and tear of the spine. Over the years, the vertebrae of the spine compress under weight gain and repetitive motions and movement. As these vertebrae compress, the disc in between each set of vertebrae also compresses, causing the disc to wear thin or to bulge out of place. This could result in a herniated disc or bulging disc. If the disc deteriorates enough, the vertebrae could become unstable and move out of place, called spondylolisthesis.

The compression of vertebrae could also cause the joints in between the vertebrae to wear down. As the joints slowly deteriorate, the vertebrae can rub together, creating small growths called bone spurs.

These conditions that develop due to the natural aging process all create some sort of protrusion into the spinal canal. Whether a bulging disc moves into the canal or a bone spur develops and pushes into the canal, the spine condition causes the space between the walls of the spinal canal and the spinal column to narrow, thus causing spinal stenosis.

As you continue to research spinal narrowing, or spinal stenosis, we encourage you to read through our information articles and reach out to our Care Team with any questions. Take a look through our library of spinal stenosis information below: