Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings (called neural foramina) where spinal nerves leave the spinal column.
Pseudo-claudication; Central spinal stenosis; Foraminal spinal stenosis
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Spinal stenosis typically develops as a person ages and the disks become drier and start to shrink. At the same time, the bones and ligaments of the spine swell or grow larger due to arthritis or chronic inflammation.
However, other problems, including infection and birth defects, can sometimes cause spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis may be caused by:
- Arthritis involving the spine, usually in middle-aged or elderly people
Herniatedor slipped disk, which often occurred in the past
- Injury that causes pressure on the nerve roots or the spinal cord itself
- Defect in the spine that was present from birth (congenital defect)
- Tumors in the spine
- Bone diseases, such as
Paget's diseaseof bone and achondroplasia
Review Date: 05/25/2010
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, and David R. Eltz. Previously reviewed by C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Dept of Orthopaedic Surgery (7/10/2009).