Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of spaces in the spine that causes pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. It mostly occurs in the neck and lower back.
Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis
Spinal stenosis may cause no symptoms in some people. However, few signs and symptoms that are associated with the condition are pain, tingling, numbness, muscle weakness and issues with bowel function. Also, symptoms vary depending on the location of the stenosis
- In the lower back (lumbar spine)
Spinal stenosis in lumber spine can cause pain or cramping in the legs when you walk or stand for a long period of time.
- In the neck (cervical spine)
Cervical stenosis can cause weakness, numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg. People with cervical stenosis can also find difficulty in walking.
Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Few potential causes of spinal stenosis are:
Abnormal growth of soft tissues inside the spinal cord can affect the spinal canal by causing spinal stenosis.
- Overgrowth of bone
Wear and tear damage on the spinal cord due to osteoarthritis can speed up the growth of bone spur, that can further grow into the spinal canal causing spinal stenosis.
Car accident or other major trauma can cause fracture or dislocation of one or more vertebrae. The dislocated bone due to spinal fracture can cause spinal stenosis by damaging the content of the spinal canal.
The tough cords that hold the bones of the spinal cord together can become thickened or stiff with time. This thickened ligament can damage the spinal cord by causing spinal stenosis.
The spine undergoes constant wear and tear. Hence, it is necessary to prevent the amount of degeneration of the spine in order to avoid spinal stenosis. Few things that you can do to prevent spinal stenosis are:
- Maintain a healthy weight
Over weight can cause compression of the vertebrae and discs in the spine. Reduce the risk of spinal stenosis by maintaining a healthy weight.
- Improve flexibility
Physical activities can help improve flexibility by strengthening the ligaments in your spine and decreasing your chances of developing spinal stenosis.
- Don’t smoke
Researchers suggest that smoking is associated with weakening of intervertebral discs and back pain. It can lead to degenerating discs causing narrowing of spinal canals.