Spinal narrowing risk factors

Spinal narrowing risk factors increase an individual’s chances of developing spinal stenosis, another term for narrowing, and the painful nerve compression that often comes with it. While there is no way to completely avoid or prevent spinal stenosis, being aware of your risk factors can reduce your susceptibility to the conditions that contribute to spinal narrowing.

If you or someone you know is already suffering from stenosis and symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness or weakness in the neck, back or extremities, learning more about the risk factors can also help in the search for lasting relief. This information can help you work with your doctor and make lifestyle changes that can produce long-term benefits for your spine health.

Risk factors

The following are the most common risk factors for spinal narrowing:

  • Age. Those over the age of 40 are at greater risk of developing spinal stenosis because of degenerative spine conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, bone spurs or spondylolisthesis.
  • Gender. While stenosis itself generally affects males and females equally, post-menopausal women are more susceptible to vertebral deterioration due to osteoporosis.
  • Congenital conditions. Some individuals are born with spinal canals that are abnormally narrow. Conditions like scoliosis, lordosis or kyphosis can also increase the risk of stenosis.
  • Previous spine surgery. If you have undergone a previous surgery on your neck or back, the risks of scar tissue, failed back surgery syndrome or a malformed fusion can potentially contribute to spinal narrowing.
  • Infections, diseases or tumors. Inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, tumescent growths or infections, like spinal meningitis, are rare risk factors.

Treatment options for spinal narrowing

Patients diagnosed with spinal narrowing can work with their doctor on a conservative treatment plan that can include pain medication, epidural steroid injections, gentle stretching and rest. If weeks or months of these treatments prove ineffective, surgery can become an option.

Our board-certified surgeons+ perform minimally invasive spine surgery as an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. By using a less than 1-inch incision to access the spine, we offer patients an outpatient procedure with less risk of complication than traditional open neck or back surgery.

Contact our Care Team for a no-cost MRI review* to see if you may be a potential candidate for our minimally invasive spine procedures.