Spinal Stenosis

Definition

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is located in the backbone. It is a small space that holds the nerve roots and spinal cord. If this space becomes smaller, it can squeeze the nerves and the spinal cord. This causes pain and other symptoms. Stenosis can occur anywhere along the spinal cord. It is most common in the low back (lumbar) region.
Spinal Stenosis
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Causes

Some people are born with narrowed canals. Most often stenosis is a result of aging. Conditions that can cause spinal stenosis include:

Risk Factors

Spinal stenosis is more common in people aged 50 years and older. Other factors that may increase your chance of spinal stenosis include:
  • Being born with a narrow spinal canal
  • Previous injury or surgery of the spine

Symptoms

Spinal stenosis may cause:
  • Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in the legs and thighs
  • Radiating pain down the leg
  • Abnormal bowel and/or bladder function
  • Decreased sensation in the feet causing difficulty placing the feet when walking
  • Loss of sexual function
  • Partial or complete paralysis of legs

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Imaging tests that evaluate your spine and surrounding structures may include:

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