medical symbolWe Accept All Major
Insurance Carriers!
Verify Coverage

Call Today (877) 931-0414


The Ultimate Back Pain Relief Tips Blog

What Is Spinal Stenosis And How Does It Cause Back Pain?

Posted by Illinois Back Institute on Fri, May 20, 2016 @ 04:18 PM

spinal_stenosis6.jpgMost people have probably heard the term "spinal stenosis" before but have no idea what it is. They may only know that it involves the back and can be extremely painful. In fact, some people may even be suffering from spinal stenosis right now and not be aware of what it actually does or what causes it. However, it is important to know as much about it as possible so that you know how to treat it if you have it, or how to help prevent it from occurring if you don't.

Call 844-408-0462 to Schedule a Free Consultation

Stenosis is a Greek term that means "narrow or constricted space." And this is exactly what spinal stenosis is: a decrease in the size of the openings in the spine. When those openings get smaller, they can pinch the spinal cord or spinal nerves and cause pain. But what are these openings, and what causes them to narrow? In order to explain this better, a brief description of the spine is needed:

  • The spine is made up of 24 bones called vertebrae, each seperated by a disc that acts as a cushion for them and also allows them to move in six directions.
  • The spine's main purpose is to protect the spinal cord, which runs inside the spine from the head to the tailbone in what is called the spinal canal.
  • Between each vertebrae is an opening where nerves exit the spine and travel throughout the body.


Spinal stenosis occurs when the opening that one of those nerves runs through gets smaller, causing the nerve to be pinched. If it is the spinal canal that is narrowing and pinching the spinal cord directly, it is called canal stenosis. If it is the opening between the vertebrae that is shrinking and impacting one of the nerves exiting the spinal canal, it is known as foraminal stenosis. Both of these forms of stenosis can happen in any area of the spine, but mostly occur in the lower back and neck.

When these nerves get pinched, it can cause any number of problems. Of course, the number one symptom is PAIN. Spinal stenosis can be extremely painful for some people, although it can differ from person to person. Some may in fact have very little if any pain. In addition to the pain, there can be several other symptoms from stenosis depending on where the nerve is being pinched. These can include one or more of the following:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Tingling, numbness, or hot and cold feeling in the extremities
  • Pain in other areas of the body related to where the nerve being pinched travels
  • Difficulty moving or walking


So what causes spinal stenosis? Many cases occur because of a degeneration of the discs in the spine. When these discs start to break down for whatever reason, they start getting smaller and weaker, which means they cannot support the vertebrae as well as before. This causes instability in the spine, and can lead to the stenosis. But this is not the only cause of spinal stenosis. Herdity, back trauma, arthritis, or just the effects of getting older can all cause it to happen.


At The Illinois Back Institute we are dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it. We specialize in Functional Disc Rehydration - a multi-disciplinary approach to making the back healthier without surgery, injections or medications.

If you would like to schedule a Free Back Pain Consultation, you can give us a call at 844-408-0462 or click here:

New Call-to-action

Also, if you would like to learn more about your back pain, or would like to know more about what we do and how our treatment works, we regularly hold Free Educational Seminars at each one of our clinics! To find out when the next seminar is and reserve a seat, click here:

Upcoming Seminars at Illinois Back Institute


Disclaimer: The content on this web site is for information purposes only and should never be used as the basis for diagnosis or treatment. We always recommend consulting a qualified professional before embarking on any form of self treatment or rehabilitation.

All content is protected by the usual copyright laws and cannot be used, stolen or reproduced for any purpose without Illinois Back Institute permission. Please feel free to call about anything although we are unable to give advice on any specific injuries or conditions over the phone.