What Causes Spinal Stenosis

Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition resulting from the constriction of space inside the spinal canal. The compression puts pressure on nerves traveling through the spinal canal, causing a tingling sensation and pain in the neck and lower back areas. Consult with a pain management dr to help alleviate pressure and determine the best treatment plan. Spinal stenosis can result from many underlying problems, including:

Herniated Discs

Since your spinal column supports your entire structure, it has discs that help absorb shock during movement. Spinal discs act as soft-cushion pads and spacers for your spine, helping you maintain proper alignment even in rapid movement. The disc’s inner jelly-like material may leak out, causing the facets to come together. Bulging discs can also pressure the nerves and spinal cord, making movement uncomfortable.

Bone Spurs

When segments of your spine become excessively mobile, the body responds by thickening facet joints. This can help stabilize your spinal column, but excessive thickening can result in bone spurs. Bone spurs decrease space around the spinal canal, constricting blood vessels and nerve roots.


Arthritis is a chronic illness that affects joint tissue. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are common causes of spinal stenosis.

Rheumatoid arthritis causes inflammation in healthy joint tissue. The swelling causes pain, loss of joint function, and stiffness. By attacking healthy joint tissue, rheumatoid arthritis can cause significant spinal problems, resulting in spinal stenosis.

Osteoarthritis is common among aging persons and causes joint tissue to break down. This can cause disk degeneration and bone overgrowth. The spinal facets and bones enlarge the spinal canal, potentially resulting in spinal stenosis.

Spinal Fractures

Trauma on the spinal area may dislodge facets, causing an irregular spine alignment. Slipped discs put pressure on nerve roots which may result in spinal stenosis. Trauma can also cause spinal facets to shatter into multiple bone fragments. The bone fragments can penetrate the spinal canal, pressing directly on nerve roots, blood vessels, and the spinal cord.

Spinal Tumors

Tumors are abnormal soft tissue growths that can occur anywhere within the body. Spinal tumors create abnormally-placed tissue within the spinal canal, resulting in inflammation. Swelling inside the spinal canal can cause bone changes, further constricting the spinal cord and nerves. Along with tumors, some patients also experience fat buildup around the spinal lining, which may cause spinal stenosis to worsen.

Bone Weakness

Weak bones can affect your overall structure and pressure the spine since the body does not get adequate support. A common cause of bone weakness is Paget’s disease. This chronic disorder promotes larger bone formation, but the new bones are soft and weaker.

Improperly formed bones affect the bone structure, causing poor spinal column alignment. The changes also reduce space inside your spinal column, creating pressure on blood vessels, nerves, and the spinal cord.

Thick Ligaments

Calcium deposits on areas with wear and tear can help maintain a stable spinal column. Excessive calcium deposits on the posterior longitudinal ligament can create pressure within the spinal canal, resulting in discomfort when moving.

Inherited Conditions

Genetics can cause inherited conditions that affect spinal health and curvature. Such conditions cause the narrowing of one’s spinal canal, potentially resulting in spinal stenosis. Common inherited disorders that lead to spinal stenosis include:

  • Scoliosis: This is a condition that forces the spine to curve sideways. Due to its effect on spinal alignment, scoliosis can pressure nerves, causing spinal stenosis.
  • Congenital stenosis: A hereditary condition where one is born with a narrow spinal canal. This constricts the spinal cord, nerve roots, and blood vessels, causing discomfort.

Work With a Top Pain Management Dr

Spinal stenosis can cause neck and lower back pain, affecting overall movement. Work with a top pain management dr to help you work towards pain relief and regain mobility. Start your pain management journey today.

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BSV Staff

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