The types of spinal stenosis are often categorized by the region of the spine in which the condition has developed. In general, spinal stenosis describes a narrowing of the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord and nerve roots. When the limited space within this area is constricted through the degeneration of a portion of the spinal anatomy, nerve compression can result if it puts extra pressure on the spinal cord or a nerve root.
Spinal stenosis often stems from age-related spinal degeneration, which can crowd the space within the spinal canal with herniated disc material, bone spurs or swollen ligaments. In rarer cases, some people are born with narrow spinal canals that are more prone to symptomatic spinal stenosis at a relatively young age.
Spinal stenosis types by location
Spinal stenosis can be categorized many different ways. For example, by location:
Cervical spinal stenosis — in the cervical (upper) region
Thoracic spinal stenosis —in the thoracic (middle) region
Lumbar spinal stenosis — in the lumbar (lower) region
Spinal stenosis can also be categorized by the part of the spinal column that is experiencing narrowing, these types include:
Central canal stenosis — in the main spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord
Lateral recess stenosis — in the back of the spinal canal where the nerve roots first branch off
Foraminal stenosis — in the small openings that allow nerve roots to exit the spinal column
All forms of spinal stenosis can lead to chronic pain and debilitating symptoms that require professional treatment.
Treatment options for spinal stenosis
Many spinal stenosis patients respond well to conservative treatments such as rest, pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, hot and cold therapy, low-impact exercise and massage. However, in some cases, surgery might be required to relieve persistent or debilitating pain, but that alternative does not necessarily involve a highly invasive operation.
The surgeons at USA Spine Care perform minimally invasive surgeries to address the underlying causes of painful nerve compression. Our outpatient procedures help patients find relief and are a safer and effective alternative to traditional open neck and back surgery.^ To learn more about minimally invasive treatment options for the various types of spinal stenosis, contact USA Spine Care today.
Our team will be pleased to perform a free MRI review* to help determine if you are a candidate for our outpatient procedures.
Learn more today
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.