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 — 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.

Common stenosis symptoms

It is possible to have 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, aching pain concentrated in the lower back may come and go. 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

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, nonsurgical 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 spinal stenosis pain, your physician 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 and have been told you may be a candidate for a fusion procedure, our surgeons can perform minimally invasive stabilizations that are a more precise alternative to traditional open fusions.

Traditional open spine surgery is not the only option for the treatment of central stenosis, foraminal stenosis and other forms of spinal stenosis. At Laser Spine Institute, we will evaluate your condition to see if you are a candidate for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures, designed to take pressure off your spinal cord and relieve your symptoms. Contact us today for a no-cost review* of your MRI.

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