Spinal stenosis is a condition characterized by the narrowing of the spaces in the spinal cord. This condition creates pressure on the nerves along the spinal column. There are two types of spinal stenosis that can be distinguished by where the condition occurs on the spinal cord. Cervical stenosis is caused by the narrowing of spaces in the neck portion of the spinal cord whereas lumbar stenosis occurs when the spaces in the spine become narrowed in the lower back region. This type of stenosis is the most common.
The symptoms of spinal stenosis can vary in intensity. Some people with this disorder experience little to no discomfort, while others may suffer from numbness, tingling, and pain that may become worse over time. Pain and cramping in the legs can also occur when standing for long periods of time. A person suffering from this disorder can even experience problems with walking and balance as well as bladder and bowel problems.
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Spinal stenosis can develop for a variety of different reasons and most cases occur in people over the age of 50. The spinal column runs from your neck to your lower back and forms a protective barrier for your nerves. Some people are born with a small spinal canal which decreases the space in the spinal column. However, spinal stenosis develops more often as a result of the damage that takes place from osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis can cause overgrowth of the bones which result in bone spurs. Other causes include spinal injuries, tumors, herniated discs, and thickened ligaments. Paget's disease can also cause spinal stenosis.
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