Spinal Canal Stenosis
The term stenosis means abnormal narrowing of a lumen (a space).
So spinal stenosis is a condition which is characterised by abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal (the lumen or cavity through which the spinal cord passes) in the vertebral column.
Spinal Canal Stenosis may present either as CERVICAL STENOSIS or LUMBAR STENOSIS the latter being more common.
Causes of Spinal Canal Stenosis
- Ageing: Spinal Stenosis Back Pain occurs as a result of the degenerative changes that set in, due to the normal ageing of an individual. It may be due to thickening of the spinal ligaments or due to growth of bony spurs which eventually reduces the space of the spinal canal.
- Arthritis: Both Osteo-arthritis or Rheumatoid-arthritis affecting the joints of the spine can cause the narrowing of the spinal canal which can lead to spinal stenosis.
- Hereditary & Congenital: It is where there is narrowing of the spinal canal by birth itself.
- Spondylolisthesis: This is a condition where a vertebra slides over the lower one. This leads to narrowing of the spinal canal and is called spinal stenosis.
- Abnormal Growths or Tumours: Abnormal growths or tumours of the vertebrae or surrounding structures can lead to the narrowing of the spinal canal eventually leading to spinal stenosis.
- Trauma: Trauma to the vertebral column can lead to fractures which can protrude into the spinal canal leading to spinal stenosis.
Symptoms of Spinal Canal Stenosis
- Cervical stenosis leads to pain in the neck which radiates to the upper limbs
- It can also be associated with weakness, numbness and altered sensation in the upper and lower limbs.
- It may also manifest in the form of paralysis of the upper and lower limbs, if the narrowing is significant.
- Cervical stenosis has symptoms similar to Cervical Radiculopathy & Cervical Myelopathy
- Lumbar Stenosis leads to pain, weakness , tingling sensation and or numbness in the low back region which radiates to one or both the legs
- If significant narrowing is present it can also present as paralysis of the legs.