What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

What is Spinal Stenosis?

The narrowing of the spinal canal, also known as spinal stenosis, is one of the most common spine conditions. The central spinal canal is a tunnel that runs down the spinal column, allowing the spinal cord to travel from the brain to the rest of the body by branching off through small openings between the vertebrae. Narrowing in the spine can occur if anatomy becomes displaced and constricts any of these already tight nerve pathways, causing potentially painful nerve compression.

For your physician to diagnose spinal stenosis or the narrowing of your spinal cord, you will need to undergo a physical examination that may include imaging tests, such as an X-ray, MRI, or CT scan. These images will allow your physician to determine the cause of your pain and the severity of your spinal stenosis. Once these factors are determined, you can collaborate to find a treatment option to help relieve your pain.

Causes of Spinal Stenosis

While many specific conditions lead to spinal stenosis, the most common underlying cause for spinal narrowing is natural aging and normal wear of the spinal components. While this deterioration is not necessarily painful on its own, when the spinal canal or one of the nerve roots exits becomes constricted to the point that it compresses the nerves they are supposed to protect, several painful symptoms may be experienced.

Several common spine conditions can also cause spinal stenosis:

  • Bone spurs. Often caused by spinal arthritis, bone spurs are extra growths on the vertebrae that can cause spinal narrowing.
  • Herniated discs. If a disc between the vertebrae becomes herniated, displaced disc material can narrow the spinal column.
  • Injury. Injuries and car accidents may cause the vertebrae to fracture or move out of place, causing the space between the spinal canal and the spinal cord to become smaller.
  • Degenerative disc disease. The natural breakdown of the spinal discs can lead to decreased space between the vertebrae, which narrows the spinal column.

Treatment with Dr. Keith Girton

At our Cincinnati ambulatory facility, Dr. Keith Girton is our board-certified spine and orthopaedic surgeon. Unlike traditional procedures, Dr. Keith Girton believes in the importance of helping patients find the most effective, least invasive treatment option. He has performed over 6,000 surgeries and is known as a thought leader in his industry. Are you ready for relief? If you are experiencing debilitating pain as a result of your spinal stenosis, find help today. 

At BEST Health System, we offer patients access to premier surgeons who approach surgery from a minimally invasive perspective. This way, patients can expect a shorter recovery period and an incision of less than one inch. Contact BEST Health System today to find lasting relief.