Spinal Stenosis - Introduction
What is it?Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal- the space within the vertebrae for the nerves. Lumbar Spinal stenosis can be found in the last 5 bones of the lower back, most often at the bottom of the back (L5S1 or L4L5, then L3L4, L2L3 and so on).
What Causes Lumbar Spinal Stenosis?Some patients are born with a narrowed spinal canal, but most often spinal stenosis is seen in patients over the age of 50. This is because the “wear and tear” process causes crowding of the spinal canal with overgrowth of the nearby bones (osteophytes), the ligaments thicken, a cyst may occur because of the joint inflammation and a disc may slip (herniate) into this space also. If there is a dynamic component to the narrowing, this is called Spondylolisthesis.
When these conditions occur in the spinal area, they can cause the spinal canal to narrow, creating pressure on the spinal nerve.