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 more than 3 million 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. These are all valid questions that you should take the time to find the answers. Learning about the details of your condition will aid you in finding the most effective treatments to mitigate your pain.

You may already know that spinal stenosis is defined as a narrowing of some hollow cavity or passageway in the spine. 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 where the stacked vertebrae meet, has narrowed. The intervertebral foramina provide nerve roots branching off the spinal cord with a tunnel of sorts so that they can exit the spinal column and begin dividing into branches that go on to stimulate the entire body.

Causes of spinal narrowing

Some people are born with stenosis in the back, but the majority of individuals 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. Specific anatomical abnormalities can arise that infringe on the space of the central canal or the intervertebral foramina. Examples include:

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

Stenosis in back or neck passageways can remain completely asymptomatic. 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 non-surgical treatments, you may be a candidate for a minimally invasive procedure 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.

Browse Related Resources