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.
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
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.