Spinal stenosis is one of the most common terms when it comes to spinal care. The condition presents itself in the spinal column, where the spinal cord, nerve roots, and vertebrae are found. To put it simply, spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing of the spine. There are two common types of spinal stenosis:
Although there are different types of this condition, they tend to affect the body in a similar manner. The narrowing puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Pressure in the lumbar region usually results in leg pain while pressure in the cervical area tends to cause neck pain. However, cervical stenosis has been known to present itself as pain in the legs as well.
The narrowing of the spine can present no symptoms in early stages. However, as the pressure is applied, there might be a slow progression of symptoms. More commonly, symptoms of spinal stenosis include numbness, cramping, weakness, and pain in the affected limbs. If there is pressure on the nerve root, the patient might feel pain radiating through the legs.
Patients with more severe spinal stenosis may suffer from foot disorders or may have problems with bladder and bowel function. These forms are far more rare, but symptoms can include loss of bowel and bladder control as well as pain, weakness, and even loss of feeling in one or both legs.
Generally speaking, spinal stenosis is inherited. People who inherit this condition naturally have a smaller spinal canal. However, spinal stenosis can also be acquired, meaning that it develops over the years as the space in the spinal column reduces. This narrowing is normally the result of abnormal bone or tissue growth.