It typically only happens in older adults over the age of 50, and just like it sounds, spinal stenosis affects our spine which is what supports our posture and stability. The spine is made up of a column of bones, also known as our vertebrae. This is what allows us to sit up straight and turn from side to side.
Even though our spine is big and strong, it’s actually quite delicate because it’s also made up of little nerves that run through our vertebrae to conduct signals to our brain and the rest of the body. “The surrounding bone and tissues protect these nerves. If they’re damaged or impaired in any way, it can affect functions like walking, balance, and sensation,” writes Healthline. When something is off with our spine, like spinal stenosis, it can lead to a lot of pain and discomfort and even cause more serious problems.
Let’s take a look at some of the common causes and risk factors of spinal stenosis…
What is Spinal Stenosis?
Now that we’ve covered the importance of our spine, how does a person develop spinal stenosis? According to Healthline, it occurs when the spine column begins to narrow, leading to compression of the spinal cord. This typically happens slowly over time and if the narrowing is minimal enough, a person might not even notice it’s happening because there won’t be any symptoms. However, if the narrowing becomes too advanced, it can cause some major problems.
We should also mention that there are two different types of spinal stenosis: cervical stenosis and lumbar stenosis. The main difference between the two is where they occur on the spine. Cervical stenosis is narrowing of the spine in the neck, whereas lumbar stenosis occurs in the lower back. While lumbar stenosis is more common, WebMD points out that it is possible to have both.
Now onto the common causes of spinal stenosis…