Spinal stenosis is a medical condition in which there is an abnormal narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal, which may occur in any of the regions of the spine. This narrowing causes a restriction to the spinal canal, resulting in a neurological deficit. The most common cause of spinal stenosis is age-related changes in the spine, such as degenerative changes in the discs and bones that make up the spinal column. Other causes include arthritis, spinal tumors, and genetic conditions that affect the development of the spine.
Symptoms include pain, numbness, paraesthesia, and loss of motor control. The location of the stenosis determines which area of the body is affected. There are several types of spinal stenosis, with lumbar stenosis and cervical stenosis being the most frequent. While lumbar spinal stenosis is more common, cervical spinal stenosis is more dangerous because it involves compression of the spinal cord whereas lumbar spinal stenosis involves compression of the cauda equina. Treatment for spinal stenosis can include pain medications, physical therapy, and in more severe cases, surgery.