Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spinal canal and the reduction in size of the openings in the bony vertebral canal through which nerves can exit and branch out.
Spinal stenosis can be associated with:
Stenosis can occur at any point along the spine. Symptoms can vary somewhat based on the level of the spine where the stenosis occurs.
Cervical stenosis (neck)
Lumbar stenosis (lower back)
Any of the above symptoms should be discussed with a qualified physician, who review your medical history and performs a physical and neurological examination. Diagnostic tests may include x-ray or CT scans. Stenosis oftens begins gradually and worsens over time. Stenosis does not improve or go away on its own.
Non-operative treatment includes medication and/or spinal injections to control inflammation and pain. Physical therapy helps build strength and flexibility.
Sometimes spine surgery is recommended. Minimally invasive techniques decompress nerves through tiny skin incisions. Decompressive laminectomy is a surgical procedure that creates more room for nerve structures. If the spine is not stable, instrumentation and fusion is performed.
Spinal stenosis treatment depends on the patient’s general health, age, severity of the stenosis, and personal preferences.
Loss of bowel or bladder control or function is a rare symptom related to spinal stenosis. These symptoms may indicate cauda equina syndrome, a potentially life threatening problem. It requires urgent medical care.
To download our Patient Guide to spinal stenosis, click here.
Patient Guides to Spine Conditions