Stenosis in general is the description of a degenerative change in the anatomical spinal size. Similar to patients with disc herniations, severe stenosis can be completely asymptomatic (Genevay and Atlas, 2010). Spinal stenosis is caused by narrowing of the spinal column or the openings where the spinal nerves pass out of the spinal column. This causes pressure on either the spinal cord or spinal nerves.
Throughout population a vast range of different development regarding the spinal canal exists (Griffith et al., 2016). Running through the spinal canal, it protects the spinal cord from outside influences. By the age of 17 spinal canal development is complete (Griffith et al., 2016).
Spinal canal stenosis is the most common indication for lumbar surgery in patients older than 65 years, mainly due to degenerative development, narrowing of the canal (Griffith et al., 2016). This pathology usually occurs as a we age and the discs between the vertebrae become drier and start to shrink. Another cause may be arthritis of the spine, which cause bony growths called osteophytes which may cause the narrowing. Symptoms are often worse standing and walking and usually get better sitting or leaning forward.
Treatment involves Physiotherapy, massage, acupuncture, stretching and occasionally surgery is required to alleviate the pressure.
Genevay S. and Atlas S.J., 2010, Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, Best Practice and Research, 24(2), pp: 253-265