Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal – the cavity down your spinal column that contains your spinal cord – becomes too narrow. If the spinal canal narrows, it can impact the nerves and blood vessels that pass through the spine. Spinal stenosis can be considered as a degenerative condition since it often occurs as we become older.
A neurosurgeon can diagnose spinal stenosis with an MRI, a CT scan and x-ray.
What are symptoms of spinal stenosis?
Spinal stenosis symptoms include:
- pain in your lower back
- pain, numbness or tingling in your legs and buttocks
- stiffness or tight muscles in your thigh area
- weakness in your legs
How is spinal stenosis treated?
A neurosurgeon may recommend physical therapy to treat spinal stenosis. This strengthens the back. People who are overweight can relieve pressure on the spine by losing weight.
Weinstein JN, Tosteson TD, Lurie JD, Tosteson A, Blood E, Herkowitz H, et al. Surgical versus non-operative treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis four-year results of the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT). Spine 2010;35(14):1329.
- Whitman JM, Flynn TW, Childs JD, Wainner RS, Gill HE, Ryder MG, et al. A comparison between two physical therapy treatment programs for patients with lumbar spinal stenosis: a randomized clinical trial. Spine 2006;31(22):2541-9.
- Levin K. Lumbar spinal stenosis: Treatment and prognosis. UpToDate® Updated Aug1 2012.
- Djurasovic M, Glassman SD, Carreon LY, Dimar JR. Contemporary management of symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis. Orthopedic Clinics 2010;41(2):183-91.
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