Spinal narrowing, also known as spinal stenosis, is a very broad term that describes constriction of the already tight nerve pathways in the spinal column. In addition to helping our upper body stay upright, the spine is responsible for protecting the spinal cord as it travels from the brain to the rest of the body. The spinal cord is protected by the central spinal canal and individual nerve roots exit through small openings called foramina.
Spinal narrowing occurs when displaced spinal anatomy, such as a bulging or herniated disc or a bone spur, constricts either the central spinal canal or the foramina. This is a surprisingly common condition and it’s even possible for patients to develop this condition without knowing. However, if spinal narrowing results in compression of the spinal cord or nerves in and around the spinal column, debilitating symptoms can occur.