What causes spinal narrowing?

The main factors behind what causes spinal narrowing can be boiled down to one, simple, unavoidable matter — aging. As you get older, natural wear and tear on your spinal anatomy causes abnormalities to form, such as bulging or herniated discs, bone spurs, arthritic joints, etc. These developments can progress to the point that they impede spinal nerves from exiting the spinal canal through passageways known as foramina. When this constriction — also known as spinal stenosis — causes a nerve to become “pinched,” symptoms can arise.

Thus, aging can be directly tied to spinal narrowing, even though there are a number of other factors that come into play. Wear and tear on spinal anatomy causes the development of degenerative spine conditions, which then can cause neural compression – the true cause of the symptoms associated with spinal narrowing.

What are the symptoms?

When spinal narrowing causes a spinal nerve to become compressed, the symptoms will occur in the area of your body that is innervated by the pinched nerve. For example, a compressed cervical nerve may cause symptoms in the neck, shoulders, arms, hands and/or fingers, while a pinched lumbar nerve may cause symptoms in the lower back, hips, buttocks, thighs, calves and/or feet. The symptoms may include:

  • Localized pain at the site of nerve compression
  • Pain that radiates the length of the compressed nerve
  • Tingling
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness

Methods of treatment

You can’t reverse spinal narrowing, but the good news is that conservative treatments are typically very effective in managing its symptoms. These treatments can include physical therapy, pain medications, exercise, hot/cold therapy, massage and others. However, if you’ve tried conservative treatments for weeks or months with little reduction in your pain, contact Laser Spine Institute today. We perform a variety of advanced procedures that are minimally invasive alternatives to open back surgery. We’ll be glad to inform you about our effective procedures and how they can help you find relief from neck and back pain.