What is spinal stenosis?

Stenosis is a Greek word that means narrowing.  In spinal stenosis the spinal canal which is the conduit for the spinal cord and nerves is narrowed, frequently from arthritis or a combination of arthritis and bulging disks.

What causes spinal stenosis?

It is most commonly seen as we age and in the lower back can present with pain or heaviness in the buttocks or thighs with a reduced walking distance.  Patients frequently compensate by bending forward, for example preferring to use a shopping cart in a supermarket. In cervical spinal stenosis there can be compression of the spinal cord in the neck resulting in weakness and difficulty walking.  Both conditions need to be evaluated to assess severity and future treatment.