What is it?

The spine is a column of bones called vertebrae that provide stability and support for the upper body. Spinal cord and spinal nerves run through the vertebrae and conduct signals from the brain to rest of the body.
Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal narrows and starts compressing the spinal cord or nerve roots. This can affect both motor and sensory functions.
Stenosis can occur anywhere along the spine. There are many causes for spinal stenosis, among them: age-related degenerative changes, inflammatory diseases, infections such as epidural abscess, tumors, trauma, scoliosis, and the genetic condition achondroplasia (a type of dwarfism).

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Stenosis of intervertebral foramina
- Foraminal stenosis
- Cervical stenosis of the spine

Signs & symptoms

Symptoms may include:
* standing discomfort
* pain in the lower back, buttock, legs or arms
* leg or arm weakness
* numbness
* loss of bladder and/or bowel control
* sexual dysfunction
Symptoms are typically gradual in onset and improve with bending forwards

Diagnosis

diagnosis is based on:
* history and physical examination: your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical background and perform a full physical exam including a neurological exam that checks your reflexes, sensation and motor function.
* Imaging studies: MRI, CT or X-rays to visualize your spine

Treatment

the goal of treatment is to relieve your pain and prevent nerve damage. Treatment may include:
* medications – pain and anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroids, antibiotics in cases of an infection.
* physical therapy
* surgery

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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