MICHAEL R. PIAZZA, MD
A common ailment, spinal stenosis can lead
to pain, cramping, weakness or numbness.
But never fear—we've got your back!
Spinal stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, irritating the spinal
cord and nerve roots of the spine. The spinal cord consists of millions of
nerve fibers that connect the brain with the rest of the body. The nerve
roots branch off along the spinal cord and connect to specific parts of the body.
If any of these structures are irritated
or pinched, the result can be low
back pain and pain in the legs, the
most common sites of problems. In
rare cases, spinal stenosis can affect
the neck area and be crippling if not
WHAT CAUSES SPINAL STENOSIS?
• Age-related degeneration. The most
common reason for spinal stenosis
is “wear and tear” over time. Age
can cause thickened ligaments,
bone spurs, enlargement of the
joints that allow the spine to twist
and bend, and bulging disc problems.
Any of these conditions can
narrow the spinal canal.
• Certain diseases and conditions. Osteoarthritis
is one example of the
bone-related diseases that can cause
narrowing of the spinal column.
The joint cartilage of the spine is
worn away and bony growths, or
spurs, occur. Paget’s disease and
fluorosis are two bone diseases
that may soften the spinal bones
or cause calcium deposits to form.
Infections and tumors may also put
pressure on the spinal column.
• Heredity. Sometimes the spinal column
is smaller than usual at birth
and may cause difficulties, even for
a younger person.
• Trauma. An injury or previous spinal
surgery may cause swelling that
puts pressure on the spinal nerves.
Symptoms vary greatly, depending
upon the position of or severity of the
24 COMMUNITY HEALTHCARE DIGEST • JUL–SEP 2019 | WWW.CHDIGEST.COM