Spinal stenosis is a condition that happens in the neck and lower back. Very simply, your spinal nerves travel through your spinal canal and exit through openings on the sides of your vertebrae which often are called “foramen”. If any of these spaces are too narrow, your nerves become compressed and the problem is diagnosed as spinal stenosis. The narrowness just mentioned can happen to some people born with a small spinal canal. But for many others, something happens to cause the narrowing. It might be due to bone spurs of osteoarthritis or caused by a herniated disc, another injury or even a tumor.
Your symptoms depend on what nerves are affected and may start gradually but get worse over time. You may have neck or back pain. You may have trouble with balance, or numbness, weakness and tingling in your hand, arm, leg or foot. Some people develop bowel or bladder problems. If your stenosis is mild, medications, injections and physical therapy may give you relief. If those don’t help, you may need surgery. Your PCA physician will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.