When we are young, our spinal cord and spinal nerves pass freely through the spinal canal, a passageway that protects the neurological structures of the spinal axis.
But as we age, bone degeneration or a thickening of the soft tissue elements that surround and protect the spinal cord can narrow the spinal canal, leading to pressure on spinal nerves and discs. This condition, known as spinal stenosis, may push discs out of alignment or cause bone spurs and other painful symptoms. Compression in the spinal canal can also cause numbness, tingling, or a loss of balance or dexterity.
Spinal stenosis is common in the lumbar region, but may also affect the cervical or thoracic spine in the area between the neck and lower back. Pain management specialists have various non-surgical strategies for alleviating pain associated with spinal stenosis.