Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Your spinal nerves travel through your spinal canal and exit through openings we call "foramen." If any of these spaces are too narrow, your nerves become compressed. We say you have "spinal stenosis." It's a problem that most often happens in the neck and lower back.   The most common causes of spinal stenosis are arthritis of the spine, disc herniations, and abnormal alignment of the spine. 

The team at Compass Pain and Spine can help you to determine the underlying cause and help patients overcome their pain using the most cutting-edge treatments available. 

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What are the causes?

Your spinal canal is formed by rings of bone located at the back of each vertebrae. The vertebrae are stacked on top of each other, and the rings form a canal for the cord to traverse its length from the base of the skull to the low back. This canal protects the nerves in your spinal cord. As the spinal cord travels through the canal, nerves enter and exit the canal through openings in your vertebral bones. Spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal canal is narrowed. Several conditions cause spinal stenosis, including:

  • Herniated disc
  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Thickened ligaments
  • Bone spurs
  • Slipped vertebrae (Spondylolisthesis)

What are the symptoms?

  • Pain, weakness, numbness, and/or tingling in your neck, back, arms, legs
  • Pain and leg fatigue worsens with standing, arching your back, or walking
  • Frequent need to sit down or lean forward over a walker, cane, or shopping cart to relieve your pain

Although rare, a severe case of spinal stenosis can cause bladder and bowel incontinence and extreme leg weakness. These are signs of a serious nerve problem, called Cauda Equina, that needs immediate medical attention.