Stenosis in the back — learning more about this common spinal condition

Spinal stenosis is an extremely common condition of the neck and back that affects millions of Americans each year. If you have been diagnosed with stenosis in your back, you may be wondering how the condition developed, why it’s causing symptoms and what your options for treatment may be. Learning about the details of your condition can help you become a more engaged patient who is able to work closely with your doctor to find the relief you require for a good quality of life.

Spinal stenosis is defined as a narrowing of the nerve pathways in the spinal column. In canal stenosis, the central passageway that houses the spinal cord has narrowed. In foraminal stenosis, one of the many foramina, or openings, that are located between vertebrae, has narrowed. The foramina provide nerve roots branching off the spinal cord with an exit to branch out into the rest of the body.

Causes of spinal narrowing

While some people are born with a naturally narrow spinal canal, the majority of people who experience this condition develop spinal narrowing over time. As the components of the spine, such as the vertebrae, ligaments and discs between vertebrae, gradually deteriorate with age and use it can lead to the displacement of anatomy that can narrow the spinal column. Examples of specific spine conditions that can cause spinal stenosis include:

  • Herniated discs
  • Bulging discs
  • Thinning discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Ligament hypertrophy

Stenosis in the neck or back is common and does not necessarily cause symptoms. However, if the central canal or a foramen narrows to the point that a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord becomes compressed, symptoms will likely arise. If you’ve already been diagnosed with stenosis in your back, you are likely no stranger to the pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness that commonly radiates throughout the neck, back or extremities due to spinal nerve compression.

Finding treatment

If you have been unable to find relief from your spinal stenosis symptoms despite several months of nonsurgical treatments, you may be a candidate for minimally invasive spine surgery performed by the surgeons at Laser Spine Institute. Our outpatient surgeries are safer and effective alternatives^ to highly invasive open spine surgeries. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more.

We’re happy to provide a free MRI or CT scan review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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