Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. This can put pressure on the nerves or spinal cord.
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Some people are born with a small spinal canal. It can also happen with aging. Other things that may cause it are:
Spinal stenosis is most common in people over 60 years of age. Things that may raise the risk are:
Spinal stenosis symptoms can happen anywhere along the spinal cord. It is most common in the low back (lumbar) region.
Problems may be:
- Spreading pain in the lower back, buttock, or lower limb
- Problems walking
- Numbness, tingling, or loss of feeling in the feet
- Weak muscles
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done.
Pictures may be taken of the spinal canal. This can be done with:
The electrical activity of the nerves, nerve roots, and muscle tissue may be measured. This can be done with electromyography.
There is no cure, but symptoms can be managed with:
- Medicine to ease pain and swelling
- A corset or brace to keep the spine stable
- Exercises to keep the spine stable and promote strength and motion
There are no current guidelines to prevent spinal stenosis.
Some people with severe symptoms may need surgery to take pressure off of the nerves or spinal cord. Options are:
- Lumbar spinal stenosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/lumbar-spinal-stenosis.
- Spinal stenosis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/health-topics/spinal-stenosis.
- Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
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