Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal which contains the nerve roots and spinal cord. This may increase pressure on the neural structures.
Symptoms include the following:
Symptoms usually improve once there is a change in position such as sitting down or bending forward.
This is usually due to structural changes from spondylosis, but may also be due to herniated discs, thickened ligaments, injuries, tumours and congenital disorders. It usually affects those above the age of 50 years.
Tests like x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and/or computed tomography (CT) scans can help to diagnose the condition and check for the presence of spondylosis or bone spurs, nerve damage or other changes.
Non-surgical management includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), physiotherapy and epidural steroid injections.
People with spinal stenosis should try and maintain activity as much as they can. Surgical intervention is occasionally indicated for patients not responding to conservative measures.
The outcome is variable. The natural history of lumbar spinal stenosis due to degenerative spondylosis is relatively benign.