Spinal stenosis is often caused by degenerative spine conditions

Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal begins to narrow and compresses the nerves in the spinal cord. While this is a common condition for people over the age of 50 due to the natural aging process, spinal stenosis can also be caused by a separate degenerative spine condition.

In order to accurately diagnose the cause of your spinal stenosis, it is necessary for you to consult your physician. He or she will likely order an MRI, which will be used to help diagnose your condition. Once a diagnosis has been made, you and your doctor can work together to create a treatment plan to alleviate your pain.

Degenerative spine conditions that can cause spinal stenosis

Degenerative spine conditions occur with the gradual loss of normal spine function over time. This could be caused by age, infection, injury or other occurrences that cause the integrity of the spine to be compromised. Many of these conditions result in the narrowing of the spinal canal, known as spinal stenosis. Some of the most common degenerative spine conditions are as follows:

  • Degenerative disc disease. This is the gradual deterioration of a disc or discs due to general aging or injury. When a spinal disc wears down, disc material can enter the small spaces in the spinal canal where nerves are located. When nerves are impacted by the disc material, local and radiating pain can occur.
  • Bulging discs. These are spinal discs that have become misshapen. These discs can protrude into the spinal canal, causing it to narrow. The nerves can become compressed and pain may occur.
  • Bone spurs. Often the result of osteoarthritis in the spinal canal, bone spurs are small growths on the vertebrae or joints of the spine. They may develop as joints in the spinal column deteriorate. Bone spurs can grow into the spinal canal, narrowing the open space in the spinal canal and pressing on the nerves.
  • Herniated discs. These are spinal discs that have broken open or ruptured due to wear and tear or injury. Disc material and fluid from herniated discs can cause the spinal canal to narrow and impact local nerves.

The most common location of degenerative spine conditions and resulting spinal stenosis is in the lumbar (lower back) portion of the spine. This is because the lumbar spine is responsible for supporting most of the body’s weight. As the natural aging process occurs, more weight is compressed on the vertebrae and discs in the lumbar spine, increasing the likelihood that a degenerative condition will develop.

Treatment options for degenerative spinal stenosis

Patients who have spinal stenosis caused by a degenerative spine condition may experience pain relief with our minimally invasive stabilization surgery. At Laser Spine Institute, we offer a safer and effective alternative to traditional open back surgery.^ Our procedures have helped more than 75,000 patients find relief with a lower risk of infection and no lengthy recovery.^

For more information about our minimally invasive procedures, contact Laser Spine Institute. Ask to receive a free MRI review* to help us determine if you are a candidate for one of our procedures.

Browse Related Resources