Can genetics play a role in spinal stenosis?

Stenosis of the spine describes the narrowing of the spinal canal in your lumbar or lower back. While the spinal canal narrows, the nerves can be pinched, resulting in a variety of symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling and weakness. Many patients who are considering surgery for spinal stenosis wonder if the condition is hereditary. In many cases, it is not related to hereditary factors. Most often, spinal stenosis develops later in life as a result of years of strain on the spine.

With that said, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that there may be a small genetic component to spinal stenosis that can make an individual more likely to develop the condition. For instance, some people are born with relatively narrow spinal canals. Even so, this generally does not require spinal stenosis surgery or cause any problems. In fact, most people are completely unaware of the condition until later in life, when natural degenerative changes in the spinal bones, discs and ligaments cause the spinal canal to narrow further.

Some individuals are also genetically predisposed to developing degenerative spinal conditions like osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease, which can cause the spinal canal to narrow. However, most experts agree that hereditary factors like these play only a minor role in the development of spinal stenosis that requires surgery. Read on to learn more about the causes of stenosis in the spine and the methods that can bring you lasting relief.

What is spinal stenosis?

In a healthy spine, there is ample space available for the spinal cord, which originates at the base of the brain and extends down through the pelvis, with nerve roots branching outward at various points along the way. Spinal stenosis can occur when this important passageway becomes constricted by:

  • Excess bony deposits (bone spurs)
  • Thickening ligaments
  • Bulging or herniated discs
  • Facet joint cysts
  • Arthritis or inflammation

How is spinal stenosis treated?

Regardless of whether genetic factors are believed to have contributed to a person’s spinal narrowing, there are a variety of treatment options available for the condition. For instance, before recommending spinal stenosis surgery, a doctor will usually suggest conservative approaches, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), inversion tables, chiropractic visits, physical therapy and epidural steroids.

If spinal stenosis symptoms do not respond well to nonsurgical treatments, it may be advised to see if you are a candidate for surgery. Even then, a patient will likely have several options. Specifically, not every patient will require a highly invasive traditional open spine procedure. Many patients benefit from the minimally invasive spinal stenosis surgery performed at Laser Spine Institute, which is a safer and effective alternative compared to traditional open neck or back surgery.^

Laser Spine Institute is the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery and has helped more than 75,000 patients find relief from chronic neck and back pain. The board-certified surgeons+ at our state-of-the-art facilities are able to make a window in the bone through a procedure called a laminotomy that removes the offending tissue narrowing the canal. Thereby, alleviating the debilitating symptoms associated with this condition.

If you’d like more information about spinal stenosis surgery, contact Laser Spine Institute to receive a no-cost MRI review.* We are here to help you find out if our minimally invasive procedures would be effective in providing you with lasting relief.

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