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Overview

One of the very common spine disorders is the spinal stenosis. When a narrowing of spaces occurs within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine, it is called Spinal stenosis. Generally, it occurs in the lower back and the area around the neck.

Foraminal stenosis is the tightening or narrowing of the openings between the bones in your spine. These openings are known as the foramen. Foraminal stenosis is a particular kind of spinal column stenosis.

Two types of spinal stenosis have been identified, on the basis of the where the condition occurs.

 

Types of Spinal Stenosis

It is also found that many people have more than one type of spine problems:

  • Cervical Spinal Stenosis- In cervical stenosis, the narrowing occurs in the portion of the spine in your neck.
  • Lumbar Stenosis- In lumbar stenosis, the narrowing in the lower back part of the spine. This form of stenosis is more common than cervical spinal stenosis.

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Spinal Stenosis Symptoms

The spinal stenosis symptoms often begin gradually, but as time passes they start to get worse. Though symptoms vary from patient to patient, the common ones are as follows:

  • Feeling numb or weak in the arms, hands or legs
  • Keeping balance while walking seems difficult
  • Cramps and pain in legs, especially when standing for long
  • Neck pain in cervical spinal stenosis
  • Back pain in lumbar stenosis
If you have these symptoms, you must see your doctor at the earliest.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

We know that the spinal cord runs from the neck to the lower back. A spinal canal is formed by the bones of the spine, which works towards the protection of the spinal cord. In most cases, when something happens that leads to narrowing of the open space within the spine, it causes spinal stenosis. The other causes include:
  • An overgrowth of bones or a bone spur, can be caused by the wear and tear damage from osteoarthritis.
  • The shock absorbers in the spine, known as the herniated disks, dry out with age. The cracks that develop in the exterior of the disk, at times, allow some of the soft inner material to escape and press on the spinal cord.
  • Over time the tough cords that hold the bones of the spine together can become non-flexible and cause thickened ligaments. These can increase spinal canal stenosis.
  • A tumour like abnormal growth inside the spinal cord, make create space between the spine bones.
  • An injury to the spine or any other trauma like a fracture or dislocation of the vertebrae can damage the contents of the spinal cord or put pressure on the nerves and lead to spinal stenosis.

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