What Increases Your Risk for Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the spinal canal is narrower than it should be. The spinal canal is the space within the spine that houses the spinal cord and the sensitive nerves. When the spinal canal is too narrow, pressure is exerted on these delicate structures. Some patients with spinal stenosis experience considerable back pain as a result. If you’ve been experiencing severe or persistent symptoms that could indicate a spinal problem, it’s time to make an appointment with a back doctor in Miami. rendered image of spine


One of the most common risk factors of spinal stenosis is being an older adult. Most patients who are diagnosed with this condition are 50 years of age or older. Age is a significant risk factor because of the anatomical changes that can occur. For example, older adults are more likely to develop bone spurs. Spinal stenosis can occur if these bony growths project into the spinal canal. Bone spurs may also develop as a result of osteoarthritis and Paget’s disease—two issues that may affect older adults. Additionally, older adults are prone to developing thickened spinal ligaments, which may protrude into the spinal space.


When a younger person is diagnosed with spinal stenosis, it is often because of an inherited condition. Some individuals are simply born with a spinal canal that is smaller than usual. Others may develop spinal canal narrowing because of scoliosis, which causes the abnormal sideways curvature of the spine.


Patients are at a higher risk of developing this back problem if they have a history of back injuries. For example, the major physical trauma that occurs during a car accident, collision on the football field, or other major accident can cause vertebrae to dislocate or become fractured. When the bone is displaced, it can travel into the spinal canal.


In most cases, osteoporosis is not a direct contributor to spinal stenosis. Osteoporosis refers to the weakening of the bones due to less dense bone material. Some people with osteoporosis may develop compression fractures of the vertebrae. Occasionally, the shattered bone from a compression fracture can crowd the spaces within the spinal column.