Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces in the spine, or backbone, where the
spinal cord is. It puts pressure on the spinal cord, which can cause back pain, weakness
in the arms or legs, and balance problems.
More to Know
Most cases of spinal stenosis (stih-NO-sis) are caused by the breaking down of
bones, disks (pads
between the spinal bones), and ligaments during the aging process. So it mostly affects
people over age 50.
In younger people, it's usually due to a genetic
disease that affects bone and muscle development, like scoliosis.
Some people may be born with the defect while others had a spinal injury that caused
it. Some tumors also can lead to spinal stenosis.
Some people don't feel the effects of spinal stenosis. But most have symptoms like:
pain or cramping in the legs when walking or standing for long periods of time
numbness, weakness, or tingling in a leg, foot, arm, or hand
Symptoms tend to get worse over time.
To treat spinal stenosis, a doctor might recommend medicines, physical
therapy, and steroid injections. For more serious cases, doctors can do surgery
to increase space in the spinal area and relieve pressure. At-home treatments like
over-the-counter pain medicines, hot or cold packs, and using a cane or walker also
Keep in Mind
With the right treatment and some lifestyle changes, many people with spinal stenosis
can remain active for many years.
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