What are the common causes of spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a degenerative spine condition that describes the narrowing of the spinal canal. Often, this condition develops as a result of another degenerative spine condition protruding into the spinal canal. Because the spinal canal allows the nerve pathways to travel from the spine to the extremities, the narrowing of this canal can cause a nerve to be pinched, resulting in local and radiating pain as well as numbness, tingling and weakness in the legs.

When spinal stenosis causes you to experience chronic neck or back pain, it’s tempting to want to schedule surgery to fix the problem immediately. However, before you consent to a highly invasive open spine operation, read the following article and consult your doctor to fully understand what causes your condition and what other treatments are out there that may provide you with the relief you need to resume a more active lifestyle.

What causes spinal stenosis?

While there are several factors that can contribute to the development of spinal stenosis, the most common spinal stenosis cause is the natural aging process of the spine. As we grow older, the spinal anatomy naturally begins to deteriorate as a result of years of wear. When pressure builds on the vertebrae of the spine, discs and joints can slowly deteriorate, causing bone spurs or damaged discs to protrude into the spinal canal and narrow the passageway. Some examples of degenerative spine conditions that cause spinal stenosis include:

  • Thickening of the ligaments
  • Facet disease (osteoarthritis of the spine)
  • The formation of osteophytes (bone spurs)
  • Spondylolisthesis (a displacement of a vertebra)
  • Herniated or bulging discs

Spinal stenosis treatment

If you are suffering from a pinched nerve caused by spinal stenosis, you should consult your doctor about an appropriate treatment option to reduce your pain. He or she can help you find the best treatment option for your needs based on the cause, severity and location of your spinal stenosis, as well as your medical history and lifestyle.

Many patients are able to undergo conservative treatment, such as lifestyle changes, physical therapy and yoga, to effectively alleviate the pain and symptoms of spinal stenosis. Because this condition is often a result of a slow-developing degenerative spine condition, surgery can often be avoided if the condition is diagnosed early.

However, if several weeks or months of conservative treatment have not yielded lasting pain relief, spine surgery may be a necessary option to treat your spinal stenosis. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer patients a shorter recovery time with our safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ For more information about the advantages of our minimally invasive spine surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute.

Our minimally invasive spine surgery treats spinal stenosis by removing a small portion of the disc or bone spur that is narrowing the spinal canal, thereby freeing the pinched nerve root and creating more room in the spinal canal for the nerves to travel uninterrupted. This type of procedure is called a minimally invasive decompression surgery and is performed using a less than 1-inch incision that is muscle sparing.

If the disc or vertebra is damaged to the point of no longer being able to support the spine, the surgeons may remove it entirely using a minimally invasive stabilization procedure. This type of procedure uses a small incision to remove the damaged disc or vertebra and replace it with an artificial disc and/or bone grafts. We can provide you with a no-cost MRI review* to determine if you are a candidate for our spinal stenosis surgery and provide you with lasting relief from your symptoms.

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