Stenosis refers to an abnormal narrowing of the body. Spinal stenosis is a condition where the narrowing occurs in the bone channel occupied by the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Some people are born with a congenital defect, but most develop this as part of the degenerative disc due to aging.
The narrowing of the bone channel may result in radiating pain, numbness, and weakness. It can also result in a secondary compression of the spinal cord or nerves.
Spinal stenosis can occur due to many reasons. Some people have a small spinal canal that results in narrowing in the space within the spine. Other causes of the condition include herniated disks, overgrowth of bone, tumors, thickened ligaments, and spinal injuries.
People over the age of 50 are susceptible to developing spinal stenosis. Although, it can also happen in younger individuals.
Spinal stenosis types are classified according to the location where the problem occurs. Based on the location, spinal stenosis can be divided into two types.
Cervical spinal stenosis occurs in the neck area. The condition likely compression of the spinal cord. The spinal compression can result in serious problems such as extreme fatigue and even paralysis. Treatment of cervical spinal stenosis generally involves invasive treatment such as surgery.
Thoracic stenosis happens in the middle or upper portion of the spine. The area consists of the vertebrae attached to the rib cage. This part of the spine involves less movement due to which it is less common than the other types of spinal stenosis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis occurs in the lower back. It happens due to a compression of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back area. The individual can feel weakness, tingling, and numbness that radiates towards the legs and buttocks, particularly when performing an activity.
The symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis often mimic vascular insufficiency. Both of these conditions can result in leg pain. People with spinal stenosis complain of leg pain when walking but relief when sitting. Also, many people report of relief from pain when flexed forward while waking.
Although the location of spinal stenosis may vary, the symptoms are typically the same. A specialist will perform testing in order to find out the exact cause and location of the condition.
Spinal stenosis generally occurs due to generation in the spine with age. The condition usually becomes serious during the 50s and worsens with time. The symptoms happen gradually and the development results in a forward flexed posture.
The gradual change in posture may become apparent after looking at pictures of oneself. Due to stooping forward as spinal stenosis increase, the individual may become less active. While degenerative changes are the most common cause of spinal stenosis, other causes should be considered. A deformity known as scoliosis, injury, and a genetic disease that affect muscle and bone can lead to the condition. A specialist will carry on spinal imaging to know about the exact cause and recommend appropriate treatment.