Common-back-problems Spinal StenosisOverview – What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal Stenosis is when there is an abnormal narrowing or constricting in spinal column or spinal canal. The word “stenosis” has its origins in ancient Greek language where it means “narrowing.” Spinal stenosis is one of the more common terms to describe back problems and spine conditions.
When spinal stenosis occurs, nerve roots that branch out from the spine — and sometimes even the spinal cord itself — are squeezed, which can irritate the nervous system. Patients may may feel pain, numbness or weakness in various parts of the body depending on the location of spinal stenosis.

Types of Spinal Stenosis

Lumbar Spinal Stenosis (Lower Back)

Lumbar spinal stenosis is the far more common of the two and occurs the lower portion of the spine.

Cervical Spinal Stenosis (Neck and Upper Back)

When there is narrowing of the spinal canal or pressure on the nerve roots in neck region of the spine it is known as cervical spinal stenosis.

Foraminal Stenosis

Foraminal stenosis is when the narrowing occurs in in the vetebral foramina. This is where the nerve root exit the vertebrae.

Central Stenosis

Central stenosis is when the narrowing occurs in the spinal canal or spinal cord. Central stenosis can be particularly crippling to patients.

Spinal Stenosis Causes

Spinal stenosis can be a disorder that was present at birth as some individuals are born with a narrow spinal column. However it is most commonly a result of aging and degeneration (wear and tear) to the spine. Degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae is a common cause of spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis can occur in conjunction with many spinal conditions like herniated discs, bulging discs, spondylolisthesis, and/or spinal arthritis.

Spinal Stenosis Risk Factors

Examples of situations that might contribute to “narrowing” include:

  • Discs between vertebrae are pushed back against the spinal cord.
  • Ligaments which connect the spine become larger.
  • Bone spurs or osteophytes grow on vertebrae and push on the spinal cord or nerve roots, causing inflammation or irritation.

Spinal Stenosis Prevention

Healthy habits can go a long way in helping to prevent spinal stenosis. Activities that help maintain strength and flexibility are particularly helpful.

  • Regular activity and exercise
  • A balanced diet
  • Good posture
  • Adequate, restful sleep

Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

The symptoms vary depending of where the stenosis occurs. If it occurs in the lower back symptoms can include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the upper and/or lower extremities
  • Tingling
  • Spasticity in the legs and difficulty walking


If the stenosis occurs in the upper back or neck the symptoms may be different:

  • Neck pain
  • Pain that radiates down the shoulders and arms
  • Numbness, tingling and weakness in the shoulders and arms
  • Headaches and loss of balance

Spinal Stenosis Surgery

Are you in frequent and extreme pain?
Have you been diagnosed with spinal stenosis?
Have conservative treatments failed to provide long-term relief?

Thayer Health can provide you a free referral to a back specialist who can help. Our referral doctors specialize in minimally invasive procedures that can end the pain and help you get your life back to normal.  Our purpose is to ensure you receive great care from top doctors and get relief from spinal stenosis pain with fast recovery times.

We work with orthopedic experts that offer spinal decompression, spinal fusion, laminotomy, foraminotomy, and other surgeries to treat spinal stenosis. We only refer to top doctors specializing in the the latest, minimally invasive techniques that are performed on an outpatient basis. These breakthrough procedures are just as effective as traditional, open surgeries but offer a faster recovery time and less scarring.

Contact us today to receive a free doctor referral and a free review your MRI or CT scan.

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