Common Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is a condition where one or more of the spaces (foramina) between your spine become narrower. It may affect the spinal canal through which the spinal cord runs or intervertebral foramina where spinal nerves leave the canal. This can compress your spinal cord and reduce the space nerves branching out your vertebrae have. When the spaces become too tight, your nerves and spinal cord may become pinched or irritated. This usually results in sciatica and pain in the neck and lower back.

Spinal stenosis builds up over time. It is usually due to age-related changes, such as vertebral wear-and-tear caused by osteoarthritis. The condition can develop in anyone but is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 50 [1]. Younger people born with narrow spinal canals can develop the condition much earlier. It may also be triggered by spinal injury or scoliosis. Scoliosis is a condition where the spine curves laterally. It often affects children and adolescents.

Many people with the condition do not experience symptoms for a long time until the disease has progressed significantly. Lumbar or cervical pain is one of the most common symptoms of spinal stenosis when the disease has progressed. This usually isn’t specific enough to suspect spinal stenosis. If you have spinal stenosis, you may also experience some of the following symptoms [2]:

Radiating Pain in the Neck and Arms

Spinal stenosis can cause mild to moderate pain that radiates from the neck to the shoulders or arms. This is a feature of cervical spinal stenosis. The pain often feels like a burning sensation. Your hands may feel weak and you may also experience tingling, crawling, or numb sensations in your arms [3].