Understanding Spinal Canal Stenosis: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment Options

Spinal stenosis is a disease that causes:


  • Root canal narrowing in the spine and other nerves.

  • A swelling of the facet joints.

  • The ligaments’ thickening and stiffening.

  • Exaggerated development of bone and bone spurs.

Lower back pain

Symptoms of spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis symptoms can gradually appear over time or come on suddenly. Depending on which area of the spinal canal has become compressed, you may experience varying degrees of pain, from a dull ache to occasional sharp and severe pain. The discomfort may be constant or it may be triggered by specific motions or actions, such as walking.

Lumbar stenosis symptoms

Sciatica is a painful condition that can be brought on by lumbar stenosis. It typically begins in the buttocks and travels down the back of both thighs and, in severe cases, even into the calves.

Cervical stenosis symptoms

Pain, numbness, and tingling may spread from the neck and shoulders into the arms and hands due to cervical stenosis.

Causes of spinal stenosis

The following are the causes of spinal stenosis

Bone spurs

When the spine sustains wear and tear from arthritis, new bone may develop in the affected areas. Bone spurs are the technical term for these growths. They’re strong enough to enter the spinal canal.

Herniated discs

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The discs between your vertebrae absorb impact and keep your spine stable. When the disc ruptures, some of the soft centres can seep out and put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

Thick ligaments

Over time, the resilient ligaments that support your spinal vertebrae may thicken and stiffen. The spinal canal may be compressed by thick ligaments.

Spine injuries

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Spinal bones can break or move out of place, both of which are severe consequences of car accidents and other types of trauma. Pressure on the spinal cord or nerves can also be caused by swelling of surrounding tissue immediately after back surgery.

Diagnosis of spinal stenosis

X-rays – X-rays, which only expose the patient to a very small amount of radiation, can detect changes in bone structure, such as the flattening of discs and the growth of bone spurs that squeeze the spinal column.

MRI – When a cross-sectional image of the spine is needed, MRI utilises radio waves to create the image. Nerves, discs, the spinal cord, and tumours can all be seen clearly on an MRI scan.

CT scan – Computed tomography, also known as a CT scan or CT myelogram, uses multiple X-rays to produce cross-sectional images of the spine. When performing a CT myelogram, a contrast dye is often used to improve the visualisation of the spinal cord and nerves.

Treatment options for spinal stenosis

Non-surgical methods


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Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs(NSAIDs) – Pain relievers available over-the-counter may not be enough for some people, and in such cases, a doctor may prescribe an NSAID.

Antidepressants – Tricyclic antidepressants like amitriptyline are effective at treating chronic pain when taken at bedtime.

Anti-seizures – Gabapentin (Neurontin, Gralise) is an anti-seizure medication that is also used to treat nerve pain.

Opioids – Pain relievers like oxycodone (Oxycontin, Roxicodone, and others) and hydrocodone (Hysingla ER) have the potential to become addictive.

Physical therapy

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You may benefit from the exercises a physical therapist can show you.


  • Strengthen your body and increase your stamina.

  • It’s important to keep your spine mobile.

  • Exercises to help you regain your equilibrium.

Steroid injections

Steroids causes negative effects and are not often preferred. Bones, tendons, and ligaments in the area may become more fragile after repeated steroid injections. That’s why it’s common for patients to wait months between steroid shots.

When is surgery considered in spinal stenosis?

Surgery is considered when

  • Your condition has gotten so bad that you no longer have the ability to work or enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

  • When pressure on the spinal cord causes pain.

  • It’s difficult to walk and keep your balance now.

  • You have issues with bladder control and bowel control.

Lifestyle Changes

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Proper posture and regular exercises help you to keep your spine healthy. Early detection of spinal stenosis symptoms is important to avoid surgery. Luckily the majority of patients recover with lifestyle modifications and non-surgical methods. 1-3% of patients will suffer from herniated discs and around 2% will have nerve root compression. 


If you are suffering from spinal stenosis, then Spandan Spondylosis Care Center is the solution. Dr Umakant Pandurang Dolas is a renowned neuro therapist and spondylosis consultant in Pune. He is specialized in treating spine disorders like slip disc, sciatica and spondylosis – pre & post-operative cases. He has vast experience working with other medical professionals all over the country. A fully established Spinal care centre like this and the prominent methods adopted by our doctors help patients heal permanently from spine problems.