What is central stenosis?

Central stenosis is a narrowing of the main central canal that protects the spinal cord. This narrowing makes it more likely for nerve compression to occur on the spinal cord, which can result in chronic and painful symptoms for those affected. This condition, also called central canal stenosis or central spinal stenosis, is usually caused by an age-related deterioration of the spine.

The spine is formed by a column of bones, known as the vertebrae, that both support the upper body and protect the spinal cord. The vertebrae are connected by joints, cartilage and rubbery discs that allow the spine to bend and flex, making so many of our basic movements possible. As we age, though, these parts gradually wear out and cause degenerative conditions, like a bone spur from arthritis or a herniated disc, which can narrow the central spinal column. Read on to learn about central stenosis symptoms and treatment options that can help you find lasting relief.

Common central stenosis symptoms

It is possible to have a narrowing of the spinal canal without experiencing symptoms, as long as no disc or bone material comes into contact with any nerve. However, if the spinal cord experiences pinching related to the narrowing, the following painful symptoms can be experienced:

  • Lower back pain, tingling or numbness may radiate to the hips, buttocks, legs and sometimes the toes
  • Dull and aching pain concentrated in the lower back may come and go; this pain may become more persistent over time or with movement such as running, walking, standing or bending
  • In severe cases, leg pain and weakness can cause difficulty balancing and walking

Treatment options for central stenosis

If you have received a diagnosis, the first step in treating your spinal stenosis symptoms is for your doctor to prescribe a course of conservative methods. These can include rest, over-the-counter medication or deep tissue massage. However, if weeks or months of treatment have not brought hoped-for relief for central stenosis pain, your doctor may recommend surgery to open up space in the spinal column and relieve the pressure on your spinal cord.

Traditional open spine surgery is not the only option for central stenosis. At Laser Spine Institute, we can evaluate your condition to see if you are a candidate for one of our minimally invasive spine surgery procedures. Our minimally invasive decompression surgery is designed to take pressure off your spinal cord. If you have advanced degenerative issues, our surgeons may be able to perform a minimally invasive stabilization, which is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open spine surgery.^

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients to date find relief from chronic neck and back pain. Contact us today for a no-cost MRI review.* We will evaluate your condition to see if our outpatient procedures would be effective in taking the pressure off your spinal cord to relieve your central stenosis symptoms.

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