Congenital spinal canal stenosis describes the narrowing of the spinal canal due to a birth defect.
Although most spinal stenosis is a result of degeneration brought on by the aging process, some people inherit traits at birth that lead to congenital spinal canal stenosis. These inherited traits can be extreme, such as severe lordosis or kyphosis (spinal curvature) through scoliosis or dwarfism (achondroplasia). A genetically narrower spinal canal may also be passed from generation to generation.
Regardless of whether spinal stenosis is inherited or developed later in life, the potential symptoms are the same: pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness that affects the extremities.
How congenital spinal canal stenosis produces symptoms
The symptoms associated with spinal stenosis, no matter the cause, are produced by nerve compression or irritation of a spinal nerve root or the spinal cord itself.
Not all cases of spinal stenosis are symptomatic; only when nearby nerve roots are pinched or when a related degenerative spine condition, such as a bone spur or herniated disc, presses on a nerve will symptoms develop. Because the spinal canal hosts the nerves near the spine, a narrowed canal is already at an increased risk for developing a pinched nerve.
The area of the body affected by symptoms depends on the location of the nerve compression. For example, nerve compression in the cervical (neck) region of the spine can produce shooting pain in the neck, upper back, arms, hands and fingers. In the lumbar (lower back) region, nerve compression can produce symptoms in the lower back, hips, buttocks, thighs, shins, calves, feet and/or toes.
Managing symptoms associated with spinal stenosis
Most of the time, symptoms associated with spinal stenosis can be managed using conservative treatment, such as pain medication, physical therapy or stretching.
Inherited conditions, such as scoliosis, may require more extreme pain management techniques, including surgery. Before deciding to undergo traditional open spine fusion, contact USA Spine Care to learn about our safer, more effective alternative to traditional open back surgery. Our minimally invasive spine surgery is often the clinically appropriate first choice over traditional spine surgery because our procedures offer a lower risk of infection and complication and a shorter recovery time.^
To treat congenital spinal canal stenosis caused by scoliosis, our minimally invasive stabilization surgery is a safer and effective alternative to traditional spinal fusion. To start your journey to pain relief, contact the spine care specialists at USA Spine Care and find out if our minimally invasive procedures are right for you.