5 Causes of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis can cause pain, discomfort, and frustration. It can interrupt your favorite activities and cut short quality time with your loved ones. You may know what symptoms spinal stenosis causes, but do you know what causes the condition itself?

When dealing with spinal stenosis, it’s best to understand the root cause and what comes with it. This condition occurs when the spaces within your spine become narrow and put pressure on the nerves in your spinal cord. You can be born with a narrow spine or it can develop over time. Symptoms can vary from nonexistent to debilitating. 

In this blog, we at Houston Pain Specialists focus on the causes of spinal stenosis and how they affect you. Our board-certified pain management specialist, Hui Kang, MD, can help you ease the pain of spinal stenosis or offer advice about how to prevent it.

Herniated discs

Your spine is made up of vertebrae, nerves, and rubbery cushions called spinal discs. These discs sit in between each vertebra to provide support and shock absorption, while protecting the surrounding nerves. 

A disc becomes herniated when the soft inside, called the nucleus, pushes out of the outer rubbery casing, called the annulus, and compresses a nearby nerve.

A herniated disc can happen at any part of the spine. Age and natural degeneration of the spine are likely culprits for herniated discs. Other risk factors include:

Bone overgrowth

Osteoarthritis can cause damage to the bones in your spine, prompting the growth of bone spurs. These bone spurs can grow into your spine and narrow the canals. 

Paget’s disease can also cause bone overgrowth, leading to less space in your spine and to nerve compression. When nerves are compressed, the result is often pain and tingling or numbness in your limbs.

Tumors

Spinal tumors are abnormal growths that form inside the spinal cord in the space between vertebrae and the spinal cord or in the membranes covering the spinal cord. These extra growths narrow the spinal canal and can put pressure on nerves. 

They can be cancerous or benign, but are uncommon occurrences.

Thickened ligaments

Ligaments are the strong cords that help keep your spine together. As part of the aging process, ligaments can become stiff and thick over time. When this happens, they can encroach on your nerves and/or spinal cord, causing irritation and pain.

Spinal injury

Spinal trauma from car accidents or sports injuries can lead to spinal stenosis. Dislocation or fracturing of vertebrae can damage the spinal canal and result in displaced bone, which puts pressure on your nerves and spinal cord. 

Swelling after back surgery may also result in undue pressure.

If you’re experiencing back or neck pain or tingling, numbness, or weakness in your limbs, you may have spinal stenosis. Dr. Kang has the expertise to diagnose and treat the pain and discomfort of spinal stenosis. 

Don’t wait until your symptoms become debilitating. Contact our Houston, Texas office today to start effectively managing your pain.

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