Spinal stenosis occurs in the backbone (spine) when the small space in your spinal canal begins to narrow or become compressed. This leads to pressure placed on the joints and discs in the backbone. It also puts pressure on the nerves (spinal cord) in the spinal canal that run from your spine to your arms and legs. A condition of spinal stenosis can occur in the upper (cervical), mid (thoracic), or lower (lumbar) spine but is generally seen in the lower back and neck. It is most common in people over the age of 50 but can occur at any age, especially if you are born with a condition that narrows the spinal canal or you have suffered from an injury to your back.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
While most people have chronic pain from spinal stenosis, many of the symptoms may go unnoticed at the onset of this condition. As it progresses, the symptoms will get worse and worse. The narrowing of the spinal canal will start to put pressure on the nerves and numbness, weakness, pain or cramping will be felt throughout your spine, down your arms and legs, or in the neck. You may experience different symptoms depending on which part of your spine is affected. In severe cases, some people may experience paralysis, loss of bladder or bowel function, or difficulty having sex.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
This condition can be the result of natural aging and normal wear and tear. It can also be attributed to an injury or accident that affects your spine. A condition called congenital spinal stenosis is when a person is born with a narrowed spinal canal. It will most likely worsen over time. Spinal stenosis can be a result of certain spine conditions and other causes including:
- Herniated disc: A herniated disc occurs when an intervertebral disc in the spinal column becomes damaged or ruptured. When this happens, it may put pressure on your spinal cord or nerves, and may cause spinal stenosis.
- Osteoarthritis: This is a common condition in people over the age of 50 that can cause disc degeneration or bone spurs which can lead to spinal stenosis.
- Disc degeneration: As we age, the discs in our back will begin the process of degeneration. The discs will lose elasticity, density, and fluid volume and small tears or cracks may appear in the outer layers of the discs, making them weak. Disc degeneration will lead to pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.
- Scoliosis: Scoliosis is a side-to-side curvature in the spine. This curvature can easily lead to pressure on the nerves.
- Bone spurs: Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of bone spurs. When bone spurs form, they will impinge on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Tumors: These abnormal growths of tissue can occur in the spinal canal. The growths will press on the nerves and spinal cord.
Get Pain Relief
Our physicians at KureSmart Pain Management work with many cases of spinal stenosis, allowing you to find pain relief from your symptoms. We offer individualized treatments for every patient, bringing pain to a minimum. To begin treating your spinal stenosis, schedule a consultation at KureSmart Pain Management with one of our spine specialists today.