What is Spinal Stenosis?

Category: Blog

Spinal stenosis is a bone condition that affects vertebrae running from the top of the neck to the base of the spine. In most cases, spinal stenosis is a secondary condition caused by osteoarthritis. Many people will go through life with stenosis and not have a single symptom, whereas others will experience a sliding scale of intensity in symptoms.

The centers of the vertebrae are hollow, allowing the branches of the nervous system to connect to the brain to the rest of the body. The wear and tear that comes with aging can cause spaces within the vertebrae to narrow. When this happens, ligaments and other vertebral tissue can press against the nerves. The two most common areas of the spine that are affected by spinal stenosis are the neck and lower back.

Causes of Stenosis of the Spine 

Spinal stenosis is most commonly associated with osteoarthritis, but other medical conditions, injuries, and diseases can cause it, too. These can include:

  • Herniated spinal discs
  • Bone spurs forming on the spine
  • Being born with a smaller than average spinal canal
  • Overgrowth of Bone
  • Thickened spinal
  • Tumors
  • Injury to the Spine
  • Swelling of nearby tissues after back surgery

Cervical Spinal Stenosis vs. Lumbar Spinal Stenosis 

There are two primary kinds of spinal stenosis: cervical and lumbar. Cervical stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal in the neck. Lumbar stenosis involves the narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, usually happens when bone or tissue growth in the openings of the spinal bones. This growth can squeeze and irritate the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord.

Symptoms of Cervical Spinal Stenos 

  • Numbness or tingling (usually in one hand, arm, foot or leg)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Difficulty in walking and balancing
  • Neck Pain
  • Bowel or Bladder Problems

Symptoms of Lumbar Spinal Stenosis 

  • Numbness or tingling (usually in one foot or leg)
  • Weakness
  • Leg pain and/or cramping when standing for long durations or when walking
  • Lower Back Pain

Spinal stenosis usually doesn’t develop until later in age, however, some degenerative diseases and conditions that affect younger people can cause spinal stenosis. Certain conditions can also cause spinal stenosis in those under 50 including physical trauma, congenital spine deformity, or genetic disease that affect bone and muscle development.

To learn more about spinal stenosis or treatment options available to you, contact us at (317)794-2759 to book a consultation with Dr. Robert Silbert.