The spine consists of a series of bones (called vertebrae). Each of these bones has an opening referred to as the spinal canal.
Openings, called foramina, branch away from the spinal canal creating spaces that provide pathways for the nerve roots that travel from the spine to the other parts of the body. When one or more of these openings are narrowed, it is creates a condition called stenosis. As the stenosis progresses the spinal nerves can become compressed against the vertebral bone, interfering with nerve function. The result can be pain, discomfort or tingling in the lower back, hip and leg(s).
Stenosis can be the result of natural aging, arthritis, trauma or soft tissue invading the spinal canal. Herniated discs, tumors, and thickened spinal ligaments can press against the spinal nerves creating the impingement and subsequent pain.
The first step in treating spinal stenosis is an examination by a qualified specialist to determine the cause of the stenosis and discussion of options for pain relief based on the contributing factors.