What are the symptoms of spinal stenosis?

The symptoms of spinal stenosis usually depend on the location of the narrowing that defines this condition. The spinal column has two main jobs: It supports the upper body and head, and also protects the spinal cord and nerve roots, which give feeling to the entire body. If narrowing from a condition like a bulging disc pinches a nerve in the lower (lumbar) spine, the symptoms can travel down to the hips, buttocks and legs. Spinal stenosis in the upper (cervical) region affects the neck and can radiate out to the shoulders, arms and hands.

If painful symptoms are taking you away from people and things you love, and you think it could be related to spinal stenosis, you should always first consult your primary care physician for an exact diagnosis. However, it is always beneficial to research conditions as thoroughly as possible so you can work together to get treatment with the best chance of finding relief.

What is stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is narrowing usually caused by a degenerative, or age-related, spine condition. Over the years, the parts of the spine can break down, which can cause the gradual narrowing of the central canal and nerve exits in the spine. Specifically, related conditions like spinal arthritis and herniated or bulging discs cause constriction of the already narrow passageways for nerves. When an area becomes so narrow that the nerves are actually compressed, painful and debilitating symptoms — that can take you away from family, friends, work and play — occur.

What are the symptoms of stenosis and how do I treat it?

While they vary by the location of narrowing and other individual factors, there are many similar symptoms that a large number of patients report. Some of the most commonly experienced pain and discomfort includes:

  • Local and traveling pain, often described as a burning sensation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Loss of fine motor skills
  • Limited mobility

If you have spinal stenosis and haven’t found the pain relief you require from conservative, non-surgical treatments, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how you might be a candidate for our minimally invasive, outpatient procedures. We can also provide you with a no-cost review* of your MRI report.

Browse Related Resources