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Evaluating Spinal Stenosis Symptoms


Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal canal. Your spinal cord and 33 pairs of nerves are located in this canal. When one or more of these spinal nerves is compressed, it can create pain, muscle weakness, and other symptoms. Spinal stenosis is most often caused by normal wear and tear (degenerative arthritis) on your spinal bones (vertebrae) and spinal discs.

Dignity Health doctors and neurologists provide personal care to assess and diagnose symptoms of spinal stenosis in the Bay Area. For the services you need, Find a Doctor at one of our convenient locations near you.

Signs & Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Early stages of spinal stenosis may not produce any symptoms. As it progresses, symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty walking fully upright
  • Muscle weakness in the arms or legs
  • Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
  • Pain in the arms 
  • Pain in the back
  • Pain the legs
  • Pain in the neck

Symptoms vary depending on where your nerve pressure is located. Talk with a Dignity Health neurologist if you have any neck or back discomfort. With early treatment, your doctor may be able to prevent further damage to your spine.

Diagnosing Spinal Stenosis at Dignity Health

Many spinal conditions can cause similar symptoms. For this reason, your Dignity Health doctor may perform a variety of tests to confirm or rule out possible causes. If you’re older than 50 and you have spinal stenosis symptoms, your doctor may recommend:

  • Diagnostic imaging studies, such as an X-ray of your spine or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Electromyography (EMG) to test your neck or back for muscle weakness
  • Physical exam to test your physical abilities

Once a diagnosis is reached, your doctor can create a personalized treatment plan that fits your preferences and goals. Don’t tolerate your symptoms any longer — reach out to Dignity Health today.

Neurologists at Dignity Health hospitals in the Bay Area use the latest methods to assess spinal stenosis symptoms.