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Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal canal — the opening in the center of your spinal column through which the spinal cord travels. When the canal narrows, it pushes on the nerves that travel from the spinal cord to the arms and legs. This pressure on the nerves increases gradually, only causing a few signs or symptoms in the beginning stages of the condition.


The neurosurgeons at French Hospital Medical Center and Marian Regional Medical Center make use of the newest technologies and leading-edge procedures to relieve symptoms associated with spinal stenosis.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

If you have degenerative disc disease or osteoarthritis, you are at a high risk for spinal stenosis. As you age, the discs that act as a cushion between each spinal vertebra begin to wear down (degenerate). This causes friction that slowly contributes to the degeneration of the spinal joints, which leads to spinal arthritis. As time passes, bone spurs may also begin to develop in and around the spinal column and may put pressure on the spinal nerves, eventually leading to spinal stenosis.

The following conditions can increase your risk of developing spinal stenosis:

  • degenerative disc disease
  • osteoarthritis
  • scoliosis
  • spinal injuries

You can decrease your risk of developing or worsening spinal stenosis symptoms when you: 

  • improve your posture
  • practice proper body mechanics
  • eat a nutritious diet daily
  • strengthen the core muscles that support your back

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Because spinal stenosis develops slowly over time, you may not experience symptoms at first. However, as your spinal nerves become more compressed, you may observe an increase in signs and symptoms.

Spinal stenosis can occur at any position along the spine. Also, symptoms vary depending on the location. 

Common symptoms include:

  • neck pain
  • back pain
  • tingling, numbness, and weakness of the arms and legs

Diagnosis & Treatment of Spinal Stenosis

Many spine problems have similar symptoms. X-rays or other imaging tests such as MRIs and CT scans are often essential for an accurate diagnosis.

Treatment may include:

  • oral corticosteroids  
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) such as ibuprofen
  • physical therapy
  • epidural spinal injection
  • surgery 

Find a Doctor

Every patient is unique, so we work closely with you to create a customized treatment plan that fits your individual needs and goals. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing the highest quality of care and treatment options to help alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.

Find a doctor at French Hospital Medical Center


Find a doctor at Marian Regional Medical Center

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Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery

Blue Shield of California has selected French Hospital Medical Center as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine Surgery, as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program. Blue Distinction Centers® are nationally designated health care facilities that show a commitment to delivering high-quality patient safety and better health outcomes, based on objective measures that were developed with input from the medical community and leading accreditation and quality organizations.

America's 250 Best Hospitals

Marian Regional Medical Center has been named one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals for a third consecutive year (2021-2023), according to research released by Healthgrades, the leading marketplace connecting doctors and patients. This achievement puts Marian in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for overall clinical performance across the most common conditions and procedures. 

To learn more, visit  Healthgrades