What causes spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a degenerative spine condition that refers to the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal or other nerve pathways in the spinal column. This condition is usually a result of the gradual deterioration of the spinal anatomy, although it can also be associated with a neck or back injury. The presence of spinal stenosis isn’t necessarily painful; in fact, many people have spinal stenosis without knowing it. However, should the stenosis result in nerve compression, painful symptoms can appear and cause chronic issues that can take you away from the activities and people you love.

Spinal stenosis and the natural aging process

In a healthy spine, the spinal cord travels from the brain through the spinal canal, with individual nerve roots branching off the cord and extending into the body through openings between the vertebrae. These canals protect the nerve from damage. However, over time, the canals can become constricted in a number of ways:

  • The discs between the vertebrae can herniate or bulge into the spinal canal
  • Bone spurs, or osteophytes, can form
  • Inflamed soft tissue may encroach the nerves
  • The ligaments of the spine can calcify
  • Vertebrae can slip and become misaligned
  • Other problems may develop such as infection, tumor or disease

Regular wear and tear eventually takes its toll on the spinal anatomy and structures naturally begin to degrade. Chronic pain and other symptoms develop in the event that the canals constrict to the point that they irritate the nerves they are supposed to protect.

Spinal stenosis treatment

Treatment for spinal stenosis varies, depending on the exact cause and severity of the narrowing. In some cases, conservative treatment such as medication and physical therapy may provide sufficient nerve decompression and pain relief, but surgery is occasionally required to provide the room necessary for the nerves to travel unencumbered.

If you are considering spine surgery to relieve the effects of spinal stenosis, reach out to Laser Spine Institute. We understand how chronic pain from spinal stenosis can negatively affect your quality of life, which is why we are dedicated to providing you with safer and effective alternatives to highly invasive traditional open spine surgery.^ We perform both minimally invasive decompression and minimally invasive stabilization procedures to treat spinal stenosis in an outpatient setting. To learn more, contact us today.

A member of our dedicated team can help you receive your free MRI review* to determine if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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