Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the canal that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots. The spine is made up of bones, or vertebrae. The spinal cord runs through an opening in the bones called the spinal canal. Sometimes, bone and ligament and disc tissue grow into this canal and press on the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord. This causes pain, numbness, or weakness—most often in the arms, legs, feet, and rear end (buttocks). Spinal stenosis can happen as you age. It can occur in the lower back or the neck.
You may be able to treat spinal stenosis with pain medicine and exercises to keep your spine strong and flexible. Your doctor may suggest physiotherapy. You also may have cortisone (corticosteroid) shots to reduce swelling. However, you may need surgery if your pain and numbness are so bad that you cannot do normal activities.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of:
May 23, 2016
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
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