Spinal Stenosis is very similar to a herniated disc. A condition in which the nerves are “pinched” or “compressed”.
“Stenosis” means reduction of space, specifically the place through which the spinal cord passes or the places where the nerves pass through to the rest of the body.
This spacial reduction can be caused by:
-Osteo-arthritis (not rheumatoid), or the degeneration of bone and cartilage, which is common with aging.
-Diseases specific to the bones, Paget’s disease, for example
-Birth defects of the bones (usually present at birth)
-Herniated disc (Sound familiar?)
-Any shock or trauma that breaks a bone and causes pressure
-Tumors in the spine
As with the herniated disc, the problem is pinched nerves, but with Stenosis the cause can be varied. There is a study that claims there is not always pain that accompanies Spinal Stenosis, not that unlike what we see happening with herniated discs, which isn’t to say that it doesn’t occur.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking that because your doctor has found Spinal Stenosis in your MRI, that it is the absolute cause of your back pain. It may just be part of the story…
That which appears to be just a muscular spasm could be stemming from neurological problems, which in addition to pain and nerve compression, can cause numbness, sciatic pain and slow responding reflexes in the legs.
However note that in the case of Stenosis, the pain tends to become more intense when walking or standing, it can usually be relieved by sitting down or moving the back towards the opposite side of where the compression of the nerve is occurring.