Spinal Stenosis is a pinching or narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal cord descends through the center of the spine in the spinal canal, so that the spinal cord is protected. If there is narrowing of the canal from disc herniation, degenerative disc disease, arthritis and spurring, cysts or other cause, the spinal cord can be pinched. The spinal stenosis may involve one segment of the spine or multiple segments. This is a process that comes on gradually and usually is at moderate to severe narrowing before symptoms are experienced. What are the symptoms of Spinal Stenosis?
Patients with spinal stenosis commonly present with buttock pain, with or without low back pain, and/or the pain will usually radiate down in one or both extremity. Neurologic symptoms may be present depending on the severity of narrowing. Spinal Stenosis symptoms are usually precipitated by walking or standing for any period of time. Symptoms will generally improve after sitting down or leaning on something for a period of time, such as a counter top. Usually individuals use a shopping cart or walker to allow them to walk longer distances.
The diagnosis can be established by history, physical examination and Imaging studies (x-ray, CT scan, MRI) will show a smaller spinal canal diameter.