Spinal Stenosis


Spinal stenosis is a type of spinal condition that occurs as you age. The spinal canal starts to narrow over time, and as it narrows it begins to press into nerves that cause pain symptoms, especially in the lower back. There are two main types of spinal stenosis:

  • Cervical Spinal Stenosis – Stenosis that occurs primarily in the neck.
  • Lumbar Spinal Stenosis – Stenosis that occurs in the lower back.

There is also a third type of spinal stenosis known as Thoracic Spinal Stenosis. This type occurs in the upper back, although it is much less common. It is possible for spinal stenosis to have other causes besides aging, such as a herniated disc or osteoporosis, but those are far rarer. In general, spinal stenosis  is caused only by aging, and the degeneration that occurs on your spinal bones from the aging process.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis in the lower back primarily causes pain. Pain may be sharp, or it may be in the form of craps that you experience mostly while standing. Interestingly, spinal stenosis tends to be less painful when sitting. Standing causes the most pain, especially standing for a long period of time. Cervical spinal stenosis may cause the following symptoms:

  • Numbness in the legs and feet.
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders.
  • Weakness in the muscles of your legs.

It is also possible for cervical spinal stenosis to cause loss of bladder and bowel control, but those are very rare symptoms. In general, spinal stenosis exhibits itself by creating chronic pain when standing.

Spinal Stenosis Prevention

Prevention of spinal stenosis is difficult since the cause of spinal stenosis is usually age. The best way to reduce your risk for spinal stenosis is to:

  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain good posture
  • Refrain from alcohol
  • Avoid falling

It is not always possible to prevent spinal stenosis, but it is possible to reduce your risk of experiencing severe pain if your spine does start to deteriorate. Elderly men and women are always at some risk for spinal stenosis, so it is a good idea to take care of your back to reduce your risk for severe symptoms.

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