Spinal stenosis is a back condition that’s more likely to occur in men and women after age 50 and tends to worsen as the years add up. Most people with spinal stenosis are over the age of 50. Though degenerative changes can cause spinal stenosis in younger people. It can develop at various points along the spine. Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.
Spinal stenosis happens when the spinal canal—holding the spinal nerves and spinal cord—narrows. This narrowing puts more pressure on the spinal cord and nerves, triggering pain. In severe cases of spinal stenosis, doctors may recommend surgery to create additional space for the spinal cord or nerves.
Symptoms of Spinal stenosis
In the neck (cervical spine)
- Numbness or tingling in a hand, arm, foot or leg.
- Weakness in a hand, arm, foot or leg
- Problems with walking and balance
- Neck pain.
- In severe cases, bowel or bladder dysfunction (urinary urgency and incontinence).
In the lower back (lumbar spine)
- Numbness or tingling in a foot or leg
- Weakness in a foot or leg.
- Pain or cramping in one or both legs. when you stand for long periods of time or when you walk, which usually eases when you bend forward or sit
- Back pain.
Precautions in Surgery
Some people have severe cases. They struggle to walk or have issues with their bladder and bowel. Doctors may recommend surgery for these people.
Surgery carries its own risks. You should have a talk with your doctor about how much it can help, recovery time, and more before taking that step.