Spinal Stenosis Causes – Understanding the Degenerative Process in the Spine

Spinal stenosis causesAnatomical degeneration is a natural part of the aging process, and it affects each person differently. While some people may exhibit degeneration in areas of the spine as early as their 30s or 40s, many others won’t notice signs of anatomical deterioration until their 50s, 60s, or even 70s. One of the first anatomical structures to experience the effects of degeneration is the spine, because it bears a great deal of weight and is involved in almost every form of body movement.

One of the most common results of spinal degeneration is spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the openings within the spine. Spinal stenosis causes can range from traumatic injuries to congenital defects, but the most common cause of this abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal is age-related degeneration.

As we age, the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, muscles, ligaments, and facet joints of the spine all sustain some degree of degeneration. Our discs can herniate or bulge, facet joints can lose their cartilaginous coating and develop bone spurs, muscles can weaken, ligaments can calcify, and vertebrae can shift or lose density. Any one of these can make bone or tissue to intrude on the space of the spinal canal and cause an area of it to narrow. When the canal narrows, there is a possibility of one or more spinal nerves becoming compressed and causing symptoms of pain, tingling, numbness, or muscle weakness in the back, neck, and/or extremities.

It’s not possible to avoid some spinal stenosis causes, but there are certainly ways to reduce your risk of developing symptoms related to the condition. Paying attention to overall spine health is a great way to start staving off accelerated or early onset deterioration. Avoid smoking, an unhealthy body weight, impact sports, and strenuous lifting. Try to maintain good posture at all times and perform gentle stretching exercises on a regular basis.

Spinal stenosis can be treated non-surgically and, in about 90 percent of cases, conservative techniques are all that are needed for patients to successfully manage their symptoms. However, in the event that a doctor-prescribed regimen of nonsurgical treatment proves ineffective after several months, more targeted treatments may be recommended. Open spine operations and minimally invasive procedures are available, and you should talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of both before making a final decision.

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  1. […] a disc becomes more and more structurally unstable, it can lead to changes in intervertebral spacing, facet joint functionality, and muscle balance. […]

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