Canal stenosis, also known as spinal stenosis or central stenosis, is the narrowing of the space within the spine, putting pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves that travel to your arms and legs.

Spine Flip

What Causes This?

Canal stenosis can be caused by a number of conditions, many occurring as a result of the natural aging process. Common causes include:


With age, the body’s ligaments can thicken. Spurs may develop on the bones and into the spinal canal. The cushioning disks between the vertebrae may begin to deteriorate. The facet joints on the spinal column may also begin to break down. All of these factors can cause the spaces in the spine to narrow.


Osteoarthritis – The most common form of arthritis. It occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down over time.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – A chronic inflammatory disorder that affects the lining of your joints, causing a painful swelling that can eventually result in bone erosion and joint deformity.


Abnormal growths of soft tissue may affect the spinal canal directly by causing inflammation or by growth of tissue into the canal. Tissue growth may lead to bone resorption or displacement of bone and the eventual collapse of the supporting framework of the spinal column.

Spine Instability

Also known as spondylolisthesis, spinal instability occurs when one vertebra slips forward on another. When this happens, it can narrow the spinal canal.


If the spinal canal is too small at birth, symptoms of canal stenosis may show up in a relatively young person. Structural deformities of the involved vertebrae can cause narrowing of the spinal canal.


Accidents and injuries may either dislocate the spine and the spinal canal or cause fractures that produce fragments of bone that can penetrate the canal.

Canal stenosis often results in pain in the lower back and legs.


Other symptoms of canal stenosis may include:

  • Pain and difficulty when walking
  • Frequent falling, clumsiness
  • Numbness, tingling, hot, or cold feelings in the legs

Depending on the severity of your condition, traditional treatment of canal stenosis typically consists of:

  • Rest, followed by a gradual resumption of activity
  • Physical therapy to avoid muscle weakness
  • Changes in your posture
  • Stretching and flexing the spine
  • Anti-inflammatory medication and muscle relaxants
  • Steroid injections

In extreme cases where conservative treatment doesn’t relieve your pain or discomfort, surgery may be recommended.

As an alternative to surgery, stem cell therapy may be an option to relieve symptoms of canal stenosis.