Spinal narrowing (spinal stenosis) — what causes spinal narrowing

Spinal narrowing causes painful symptoms if nerve compression occurs. Laser Spine Institute can help you understand why.

The narrowing of the spinal canal, also known as spinal stenosis, is one of the most common spine conditions. The spinal canal allows room for the spinal cord to run through without impacted surrounding nerves. However, when the spinal canal begins to narrow, the spinal cord begins to compress the surrounding nerves, resulting in both local and radiating pain.

In order for your physician to diagnose spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of your spinal cord, you will need to undergo imaging tests, such as X-ray, MRI, and/or CT scan. These images will allow your physician to determine the cause of your pain and the severity of your spinal stenosis. Once these factors are determined, you can collaborate to find a treatment option to help relieve your pain.

Causes of spinal stenosis

While there are many spine conditions that lead to spinal stenosis, one of the most common reasons for the spinal canal to narrow is simply age and general wear-and-tear of the spinal components. While this deterioration is not necessarily symptomatic on its own, when the spinal column or one of the foraminal canals becomes constricted to the point that it compresses the nerves that they are supposed to protect, a number of painful symptoms may be experienced.

Spinal stenosis can also be caused by several common spine conditions:

  • Bone spurs — Bone spurs are extra growths on the vertebrae of the spine that cause a narrowing of the spinal canal. Bone spurs have the ability to compress a nerve in the spinal cord and cause chronic pain.
  • Herniated discs — If a disc between the vertebrae becomes herniated, it might expand beyond its normal parameter and cause the spinal canal to narrow.
  • Injury — Injuries and car accidents may cause the vertebrae of the spine to fracture or move out of place, causing the space between the spinal canal and the spinal cord to become smaller.
  • Other spine conditions

Treatment options

The best way to address spinal stenosis is to seek digital imaging, such as MRI, and review your results with a physician to determine the cause of your spinal stenosis. Once a cause is identified, you can collaborate to find a treatment option that works best for you. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer several minimally invasive stabilization procedures to help you find relief from your chronic pain. Contact our Spine Care Consultants to schedule an MRI review to determine your candidacy for one of our procedures.