Spinal stenosis is a condition that causes narrowing of the spinal canal and compression of the spinal cord and nerves. Spinal stenosis is usually the result of the aging process; however, a bulging or ruptured disc may also be the cause. Spinal stenosis occurs in the cervical and lumbar areas of the spine. Stenosis is most common among people over 50.
Causes of spinal stenosis
Spinal stenosis may also be caused by
- Arthritis of the spine, usually in middle-aged or elderly people
- Bone diseases, such as Paget disease
- Defect or growth in the spine that was present from birth
- Herniated or slipped disc which often happened in the past
- Injury that causes pressure on the nerve roots or the spinal cord
- Tumors in the spine
- Fracture or injury of a spinal bone
Symptoms of spinal stenosis
- Leg pain and cramps due to compressed nerves in the lower back
- Pain in the hip and back that radiates downwards
- Numbness or weakness in the legs or feet
- Loss of balance
- Loss of control over the bladder and bowels (In severe nerve compression)
Treatment usually includes over-the-counter and prescription pain relievers, physiotherapy and exercises, modified activity, back braces, and steroid injections. In severe cases surgery becomes necessary.
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