The gradual narrowing of the spinal canal in the spinal column is a degenerative spine condition known as spinal stenosis. This condition typically occurs due to the slow deterioration of the spinal anatomy. It can also happen due to an injury to the back or neck.
While spinal stenosis can happen in individuals from all age groups, it occurs most commonly in people older than 50 years.
Southern California Hip Institute (SCHI), led by board certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tigran Garabekyan, provides orthopedic surgery and other treatments to patients in North Hollywood, Los Angeles, and surrounding locations.
The spinal cord goes from the brain through the spinal canal in a healthy person. Individual nerve roots branch off the cord and extend into the body via canals between the vertebrae. These canals are similar to sheaths and protect the nerves from harm. But these canals can become constricted or clogged over time due to various reasons such as:
- Inflamed soft tissue may encroach on the nerves
- Bone spurs, known as osteophytes, can form
- Discs between the vertebrae can bulge or herniate into the spinal canal
- Vertebrae can become misaligned, known as spondylolisthesis
- Other issues such as infection, disease, tumor, etc.
Routine wear and tear can impact the spinal anatomy causing structures to degrade naturally. Chronic pain and other problems develop as the canals constrict to such a level that they adversely impact the nerves that they are supposed to protect.
Surplus body weight puts significant strain on the back, specifically on the lower (lumbar) back. The lumbar spine within the lower back is a magnificent structure.
It enables a person to lean forward and backward, rotate around an axis and supports a majority of the body’s weight. This highlights why lower back issues are so pervasive in healthy people. However, in supporting the excess weight of an obese individual, stenosis and back pain are a foregone conclusion.
A range of degenerative spinal conditions can lead to spinal stenosis. These conditions include:
- Osteoarthritis: If osteoarthritis impacts the spine, it leads to a slow breakdown of facet joint cartilage. This causes friction between vertebrae and increase in bone spurs.
- Osteoporosis: The slow loss of bone density leads to spondylolisthesis.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: A herniated disc can form if the cartilaginous outer wall of an invertebral disc loses elasticity and water content.
- Osteopetrosis: This is a rare condition that causes the slow enlargement and thickening of bones.
Other Reasons for Spinal Stenosis
Certain individuals are born with a congenital disability that causes a smaller spinal canal to form. Motor accidents and sports injuries can lead to stenosis as well issues such as bulging and herniated discs.
Other causes of spinal stenosis may include:
- Surplus fluoride in the spine
- Spinal tumors
- Paget’s disease that leads to enlarged spinal bones
- Calcified ligaments
Dr. Tigran Garabekyan is a board certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip preservation. To learn more about Southern California Hip Institute or to schedule a consultation, click here to contact us or call:
Serving patients in Encino, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, West Hollywood, Century City, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, and other neighboring cities in the greater Los Angeles, California area.
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