Spinal Stenosis: An Introduction

Notice the concentric narrowing of the spinal canal.

Spinal stenosis refers to a chronic pain syndrome resulting from the circumferential narrowing of the spinal canal. It may occur at any level of the spine, but is most common in the lumbar spine. Spinal stenosis is most commonly degenerative in nature and results from arthritic changes in the vertebral bodies and facet joints, which produce ingrowth of heterotopic bone. While the symptoms of spinal stenosis are usually radicular, the pain may begin as a dull ache in the back. Because of the concentric nature of the compression in this condition the radicular pain often does not follow a strictly dematomal distribution and is often bilateral. Treatment of the back pain may include epidural steroid injections, physical therapy or surgery, most commonly lumbar laminectomy.

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