Spinal canal stenosis
Spinal canal stenosis most often occurs when the vertebrae, ligaments and discs begin to deteriorate, eventually leading to narrowing and potential nerve compression in the central spinal canal that protects the spinal cord. The compression associated with spinal stenosis can irritate or compress nerve roots or the spinal cord, causing severe discomfort and a potentially diminished quality of life.
If you experience neck or back pain, it should be diagnosed by a doctor. It’s particularly important not to ignore pain that is chronic or lingers over an extended period of time. If spinal canal stenosis is present in the cervical (upper) region, you might feel pain that radiates through the shoulders and arms, numbness or tingling in the extremities or weakness in the legs, among other symptoms. In the lower back, or lumbar region, nerve compression related to canal stenosis could affect the lower back, the legs, the feet and the toes.
Causes of spinal canal stenosis
Spinal canal stenosis, which is sometimes called central stenosis, usually occurs after the age of 50. There are several potential causes of spinal narrowing, including:
- Loss of spinal disc height, or a collapsed disc
- Bulging discs
- Herniated discs
- Osteoarthritis in the spine, also called facet disease
- Spinal fracture or other injury
- Spondylolisthesis, or vertebral slippage
Spinal canal stenosis treatment
Often, spinal stenosis can be managed through a conservative treatment program that includes options such as exercise, massage, hot and/or cold therapy and over-the-counter pain medicine. Sometimes, though, neck or back pain is so persistent that your doctor might suggest surgery as an option.
At Laser Spine Institute, we provide minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery^. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly-skilled surgeons are able to access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision. This means a streamlined, outpatient experience for our patients.