Spinal Stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal around the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This narrowing occurs as part of the natural aging process and usually begins to appear in those in their 50’s. Certain genetic conditions and predispositions may expedite this process. Spinal Stenosis can occur in both the lumbar and cervical spine.
The pain associated with Spinal Stenosis comes as a result of increased pressure on the nerves that exit the spine. As the canal narrows, nerves may become impinged or irritated. In some cases, osteophytes (bone spurs) may form around the nerves causing increased irritation. Also, as part of the aging of the spine, spinal ligaments and tissue may become calcified (thickened) and increase pressure on the surrounding nerve roots.
Those with Spinal Stenosis may remain asymptomatic for many years and many will never exhibit symptoms. Symptoms may vary depending upon the location and severity of the stenosis.
Spinal Stenosis symptoms can include:
- Back or neck pain
- Numbness or tingling in the extremities
- Stiffness of the spine
- Weakness in the extremities
- Bowel or bladder incontinence