As we age, our bodies experience the natural wear-and-tear of daily life—something we notice readily in places like the skin or our vision and mobility. However, the spine is also subject to this process of degeneration. One of the most common conditions people experience as they age is spinal stenosis.
Spinal stenosis is generally referred to as narrowing of the space between the vertebrae, known as the spinal canal.
Spinal stenosis is common with older patients, and it’s usually caused by degenerative changes of the spine, such as arthritis or herniated or bulging discs. Heredity, spondylolisthesis (vertebrae slipping forward), spinal tumors and trauma can also cause spinal stenosis.
Although spinal stenosis primarily affects older people, it can also happen with younger people, most often due to congenital factors, such as large herniated discs, or developmentally short pedicles, which is the natural narrowing of the spinal canal.