Canal stenosis is a common diagnosis for someone suffering from back and/or leg pain. What is stenosis?
Stenosis is from the Greek and means narrowing. With that it mind, it should make things a little clearer. You can have narrowing in blood vessels (think heart attack), narrowing in your intestines (scarring from Crohn’s disease), and narrowing in your spinal canal. The canal is where the spinal cord and the nerves that exit off of the cord live. Any of the structures that surround the canal can cause it to narrow, or stenose. Bone, discs, and ligaments are the typical culprits. Degenerative changes in the spine, typically seen in the older populations, is the number one cause of spinal stenosis. The disc may bulge or herniate into the canal. Osteophytes or bone spurs from the vertebrae may also encroach on the canal. The facet joints may start to hypertrophy or enlarge due to wear and tear, and that enlargement can make the canal size smaller. And finally, the ligament that has as it’s function to keep stuff out of the back of the canal, can also hypertrophy and shrink the size of that canal.
Lumbar Canal Stenosis
As mentioned above, there are numerous ways that the spinal canal can be narrowed. When this occurs it can place pressure on either the spinal cord and its exiting nerves. That pressure can cause pain, and also tingling, weakness, and cramping in the legs.
In this podcast, this is a replay of the audio from our video show on Blab. We are running a series titled “What is causing your lower back pain?” You can find the video show under the “video show” tab on the homepage. This weeks episode focused on an older gentleman who was struggling with spinal stenosis. So take a listen.