What is Stenosis?

There are several types of spinal stenosis, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis and Cervical Spinal Stenosis are just two of them.  Lumbar stenosis occurs when the spinal nerve roots are compressed in the lower back.  The effects of this are weakness or numbness in the lower back, bottom and legs.  Cervical spinal stenosis is compression of the spinal cord.  When this happens the symptoms can be extremely serious.  A few of them are major body weakness, paralysis and severe pain.  Spinal stenosis begins occurring in people who are 50 or older because it is connected to the degeneration of the spine.  As people 50 and older continue to age this degeneration continues to happen and can intensify the pain.


There are a lot of symptoms associated with spinal stenosis and it will depend to a degree which one you’re suffering from for what type of symptoms you’ll experience.  Lower back pain, leg numbness & tingling, walking limitations are the three most common symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis.   When a person with spinal stenosis walks, the longer they walk the more pain they will feel.  A way to reduce this pain is by stretching forward or sitting to open the spinal canal and relieve the leg pain.


James K KaufSpinal Surgery Shutterstockman MD has talked about stenosis in length during his research and mentions there are two diagnostic imaging studies for patients with stenosis.  They include an MRI scan or a CT scan with myelogram.  These two scans display the compression of the spine and allow doctors to see which nerves are being compressed.  Some forms of stenosis, such as cervical foraminal stenosis, can be pinpointed by other methods.  One method is injecting the suspected nerve with a couple drops of local anesthetic and then observing whether there is a remission of the symptoms.  If there is then the patient can decide if they want to conduct surgery there.


There are non-surgical treatments for spinal stenosis which many patients should consider.  There are a variety of exercises available, swimming, bicycling, stretching and Tai Chi are just a few to be named.  It should also be noted, exercising while you’re still young and building muscles in your back can help reduce the effects and rate at which you experience degeneration in your back.  Besides exercise, healthy eating and not becoming overweight can help prevent the effects of stenosis.  People who are overweight put more pressure on their spine and can increase the effects of compression.  We hope with this knowledge about spinal stenosis you will now take matters into your own hands and do your best to prevent the onset of spinal stenosis so that you don’t have to suffer the pain which millions of others have had to.