Spinal Stenosis



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Spinal stenosis is when the spinal column narrows and compresses the spinal cord. The spine consists of up 33 vertebrae that stack on top of each other and enclose the bundle of nervous tissue forming the spinal cord for protection. When the space around the nervous tissue in the spine decreases, pressure on the spinal cord or the nerves that branch out from the spinal cord can lead to back and neck pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness. Spinal stenosis is often caused by age-related factors and may be treated by a range of techniques based on severity.

Common Causes

Many different situations can contribute to increased compression of the spinal cord:


Most cases of spinal stenosis are attributed to normal wear and tear with age. Even so, several treatment options are available to alleviate symptoms. Physicians may prescribe short-term pain relievers or other medications to reduce pain. Heat and ice therapy are simple home remedies that improve blood circulation and relieve pain, respectively. A physical therapist can help patients maintain strength and activity levels in a way that best matches each individual’s symptoms — exercise is important for preventing muscle weakness, which can worsen symptoms. Stretching and manual therapy are useful for reducing joint stress and maintaining range of motion. Posture training and education are also important.