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Narrowing of the spinal column, or spinal stenosis, can cause a wide variety of symptoms. As the spinal column becomes smaller, it can put stress on the spinal cord and nerve roots exiting the spine. Stenosis can occur in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine, resulting in different symptoms and complications. At DOCS Health, we offer spinal stenosis treatment and surgery at our state-of-the-art spine center in Los Angeles.

There are many possible causes of spinal stenosis. Congenital factors can contribute to a smaller spinal column, but reduced space inside the spinal column is usually due to damage from injury, wear/tear and degenerative disease. Bone spurs, thickened ligaments, bulging discs and other conditions can reduce the spinal space, putting pressure on nerves and the spinal cord.

Cervical Stenosis

When there is pressure on the nerves or spinal cord in the cervical spine, it can result in localized and radicular pain. Cervical stenosis can cause neck pain with numbness or weakness radiating into the shoulder, arm and hand, if there are nerve roots compressed. If the cervical stenosis squeezes the spinal cord, patients can experience balance and walking problems, as well as bladder or bowel incontinence.

Thoracic Stenosis

The mid to upper back or thoracic spine is less likely to experience stenosis than the cervical or lumbar regions. Many causes of stenosis are due to wear, tear and degenerative disease, which does not affect the thoracic spine as much as other areas. When thoracic stenosis does occur, pain may be felt in the mid to upper back. Radiating pain can occur around the rib cage and some patients may experience weakness, muscle spasms or numbness in the back and legs.

Lumbar Stenosis

Degenerative disease and aging are the biggest contributors to lumbar spinal stenosis. The spinal column can slowly become narrower over many years, adding pressure to the nerve roots in the lumbar spine. The most common symptoms of lumbar stenosis include low back pain, as well as pain, numbness and weakness radiating down into the buttocks and legs. Some patients may experience reduced motor function in the legs or bladder incontinence.

Treatment for cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal stenosis focuses on reducing pain and other symptoms. Interventional and minimally invasive treatments can be effective at reducing nerve compression caused by stenosis. If conservative treatments are ineffective, spine surgery may be needed to reduce nerve or spinal cord compression.

If you have symptoms of spinal stenosis, contact our neuro-spine surgeon team at DOCS Health in Beverly Hills, CA, to schedule a neck or back pain consultation. We offer a multidisciplinary approach to medical care, including innovative options in spinal stenosis treatment.