Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck.
Patients complain of pain, tingling, numbness and muscle weakness. Symptoms can worsen over time.
Spinal stenosis is most commonly caused by wear-and-tear changes in the spine related to osteoarthritis.
Lumbar spinal stenosis is the most common form of spinal stenosis.
Symptoms vary depending on the location of the stenosis and which nerves are affected.
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
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