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Source: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. www.niams.nih.gov
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of spaces in the spine (backbone) that results in pressure on the spinal cord and/or nerve roots. This disorder usually involves the narrowing of one or more of three areas of the spine:
(1) the canal in the center of the column of bones (vertebral or spinal column) through which the spinal cord and nerve roots run
(2) the canals at the base or roots of nerves branching out from the spinal cord
(3) the openings between vertebrae (bones of the spine) through which nerves leave the spine and go to other parts of the body.
The narrowing may involve a small or large area of the spine. Pressure on the lower part of the spinal cord or on nerve roots branching out from that area may give rise to pain or numbness in the legs. Pressure on the upper part of the spinal cord (that is, the neck area) may produce similar symptoms in the shoulders, or even the legs.
Narrowed spinal canal
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