Your spine, or backbone, protects your spinal cord and allows you to stand and bend. Spinal stenosis causes narrowing in your spine. The narrowing puts pressure on your nerves and spinal cord and can cause pain.
Spinal stenosis occurs mostly in people older than 50. Younger people with a spine injury or a narrow spinal canal are also at risk. Diseases such as arthritis and scoliosis can cause spinal stenosis, too. Symptoms might appear gradually or not at all. They include
- Pain in your neck or back
- Numbness, weakness, cramping, or pain in your arms or legs
- Pain going down the leg
- Foot problems
Doctors diagnose spinal stenosis with a physical exam and imaging tests. Treatments include medications, physical therapy, braces, and surgery.
NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Treatments and Therapies
- Back Surgery: When Is It a Good Idea? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- Cervical Laminoplasty (North American Spine Society)
- Epidural Injections for Spinal Pain (American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America) Also in Spanish
- Laminectomy (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Cauda Equina Syndrome (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons)
- What Is the Difference between Pseudoclaudication and Claudication? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research) Also in Spanish
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Spinal Stenosis (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: A new interspinous process distraction device BacFuse in the treatment of...
- Article: Microendoscopic discectomy versus minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion for lumbar...
- Article: Interbody fusion in degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis with additional posterolateral fusion...
- Spinal Stenosis -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Arthritis Foundation: Local Office Directory (Arthritis Foundation)
- Find a Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation Physician (American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation)
- Find a Physical Therapist (American Physical Therapy Association)
- Find a Rheumatologist (American College of Rheumatology)
- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases Also in Spanish
- Foraminotomy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Laminectomy (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Questions to ask your doctor about spinal surgery Also in Spanish
- Spinal fusion (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Spinal stenosis (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish
- Spine surgery - discharge (Medical Encyclopedia) Also in Spanish