Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of spaces in the spine that results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. This narrowing may involve a small or large area of the spine. Pressure on the lower part of the spinal cord or on nerve roots branching out from that area may cause pain or numbness in the legs. Pressure on the upper part of the spinal cord (neck area) may produce similar symptoms in the shoulders, or even the legs.
The most common reason for developing spinal stenosis is degenerative arthritis, or bony and soft tissue changes that result from aging. Spinal stenosis is usually seen in patients over 50 years of age, and becomes progressively more severe with increased age.
Surgery may be an option for you if you have not responded well to non-surgical treatments. If you have been experiencing severe pain for a lengthy period of time or radiculopathy (numbness, tingling or pain) in the arms or legs, lost sensation in your arms or legs, have decreased motor strength in your arms or legs or have lost bowel or bladder control. Surgery can help alleviate pressure by freeing up space for your spinal cord/nerve roots.