Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. While a narrow canal may be present from birth, narrowing often occurs from spinal degeneration due to age. Wear and tear cause a buildup of arthritic spurs on the facet joints, which invades the spinal canal and pinches lumbar nerve roots, resulting in pain. Spinal stenosis is diagnosed and confirmed by an MRI or CAT scan.
A common symptom of spinal stenosis is spinal claudication, or pain in the legs or the buttocks during activity. It is a pain that is relieved by sitting and resting, and occurs again when activity is resumed. The pain may manifest as anything from sciatica or a cramping. It can be severe enough to be constant and unremitting, or feel like a herniated disc.
Spinal stenosis usually affects those aged 50 or older. If untreated, it will become worse over time and cause increased pain or loss of function. Spinal decompression has been shown to be very effective in treating this condition.