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Treating Spinal Stenosis


Spinal stenosis is a movement disorder characterized by narrowing of the spinal canal and the passageways of spinal nerves. Your spinal cord runs through a canal in your spinal column. When this canal is squeezed, it puts pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing pain and discomfort. It’s called lumbar spinal stenosis when it occurs in your back, and cervical spinal stenosis when it begins in your neck.

If you’d like to meet with an expert about spinal stenosis in the Bay Area, Find a Doctor online.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

The main causes of spinal stenosis are osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Age and normal wear and tear result in the breakdown of spinal bones (vertebrae) and spinal discs. As the discs wear down, they start rubbing together, causing spinal arthritis. Your body responds by creating bone spurs, or calcifications, that build up over time. They shrink your spinal nerve passageways and put pressure on your spinal nerves.

Scoliosis can increase your risk of spinal stenosis.

Identifying the Signs of Spinal Stenosis

Signs and symptoms take many years to develop. In its later stages, spinal stenosis can cause:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Weakness in the arms and legs

These symptoms are often seen in other spine conditions, so meet with an experienced doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment & Prevention of Spinal Stenosis

Our doctors will likely perform X-rays and other imaging tests to determine the cause of your symptoms. Depending on the severity and location of your discomfort, treatments may focus on easing symptoms, opening the spinal column to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, and protecting your spine from further damage. Therapies include medications, injections, physical therapy, and surgery.

The best way to prevent or reduce your risk of having spinal stenosis is to:

  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise to keep your stomach and back muscles strong.
  • Practice good posture and body mechanics.

Talk to a doctor at Dignity Health if you would like to learn more about spinal stenosis in the Bay Area.

Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area provide diagnostic testing and a range of treatments for spinal stenosis.