What is it?
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing in the spine that affects the spinal cord or the nerves in the spinal column.
Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors
Spinal stenosis is commonly caused by bone damage in the vertebrae. It can be the result of other conditions, such as:
- The natural deterioration of the cartilage in the spine associated with aging
- Herniated discs
- Paget’s disease of the bone
- Spinal tumors
Symptoms of spinal stenosis include:
- Pain or numbness in the neck, shoulders, back, arms or legs
- Cramping in the legs
- Numbness in arms and legs
People at particular risk of spinal stenosis are older than 50 and/or have one or more of the above conditions.
A doctor will diagnose spinal stenosis by doing a physical examination, reviewing symptoms and medical history, and conducting imaging tests, such as a bone scan, X-rays, an MRI or CT scans.
Treatments for spinal stenosis include:
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Modification of lifestyle and activities
If these treatments do not address the symptoms, the doctor may recommend surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves and restore strength.