Each of the spinal vertebrae has a “canal” or hole for the spinal cord to pass through. Spinal Stenosis is also known as Canal Stenosis. Stenoses means shrinking or getting smaller. In other words, the vertebral canal is smaller than normal. Spinal Stenosis or Canal stenosis is quite common among older populations »60 years of age. It is a chronic arthritic disease where the ligaments that hold the spinal vertebrae together begin to calcify and thicken. The ligament in question being the PLL, or Posterior Longitudinal Ligament. A thick and normally soft tissue that becomes hard over time. This thickening and calcification of the PLL is what leads to the shrinkage of the canal.
In the neck, spinal stenosis may present like a hernia, causing pain, tingling, numbness or loss of strength and even tremors in the hands or arms . In the low back, (Lumbar), stenosis may present as tingling, numbness or loss of strength. Typically, in older patients, stenosis can present as weakness in the legs, loss of balance or stability in the legs, slower reflexes when walking or driving, difficulty walking up or down stairs and atrophy (shrinking) of the thigh muscles.