Spinal canal stenosis most often occurs when the vertebrae, ligaments and discs begin to deteriorate, eventually leading to narrowing and potential nerve compression in the central spinal canal that protects the spinal cord. The compression associated with spinal stenosis can irritate or compress nerve roots or the spinal cord, causing severe discomfort and a potentially diminished quality of life.
If you experience neck or back pain, it should be diagnosed by a doctor. It’s particularly important not to ignore pain that is chronic or lingers over an extended period of time. If spinal canal stenosis is present in the cervical (upper) region, you might feel pain that radiates through the shoulders and arms, numbness or tingling in the extremities or weakness in the legs, among other symptoms. In the lower back, or lumbar region, nerve compression related to canal stenosis could affect the lower back, the legs, the feet and the toes.
Causes of spinal canal stenosis
Spinal canal stenosis, which is sometimes called central stenosis, usually occurs after the age of 50. There are several potential causes of spinal narrowing, including:
Often, spinal stenosis can be managed through a conservative treatment program that includes options such as exercise, massage, hot and/or cold therapy and over-the-counter pain medicine. Sometimes, though, neck or back pain is so persistent that your doctor might suggest surgery as an option.
At USA Spine Care, we provide minimally invasive spine surgery that is a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery^. By using muscle-sparing techniques, our highly-skilled surgeons are able to access the spine with a less than 1-inch incision. This means a streamlined, outpatient experience for our patients.
If you're living with spinal stenosis in the upper spine and searching for relief, reach out to USA Spine Care for help. Our multidisciplinary team is dedicated to helping people develop the right care plan to reach treatment goals and achieve lasting relief.
Patients can expect recovery to last 4-6 weeks in most cases (depending on the complexity of your condition). People who choose minimally invasive spine surgery recover faster and get back to work sooner than those who choose open back surgery. Read more in the links below: Recovery After a ProcedureWhat to ExpectRecovery Times
Problems from anesthesia.
A deep infection in the surgical wound.
A skin infection.
Nerve injury, including weakness, numbness, or paralysis.
Tears in the fibrous tissue that covers the spinal cord and the nerve near the spinal cord. These tears may require more surgery.
Trouble passing urine, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
Long-term (chronic) pain, which happens after surgery in some cases.
The chance that the surgery won't relieve your symptoms. And even if you get better with surgery, there is a chance that you may get new symptoms in the future.
Death from problems caused by surgery, but this is rare.
^Results are typical, but not guaranteed, each patients experience with spine surgery will differ.
For more information, visit usaspinecare.com/results. The information contained on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to serve as a replacement for a medical diagnosis.
*Our MRI review is an informational review of the MRI report that you provide to us and is not a form of diagnosis. A diagnosis and a final determination of whether you may benefit from treatment at USA Spine Care can only be made after you have been physically examined by our medical professionals at USA Spine Care. The MRI review has no value and will not be billed.