usually starts gradually and develops over a long period of time. Narrowing of the spinal canal can squeeze and irritate the that branch out from the spinal cord, or it can squeeze and irritate the spinal cord itself. This may cause pain, cramping, numbness, or weakness, most often in the legs, feet, and buttocks. Symptoms may be severe at times and less severe at other times. You may be able to relieve pain by changing positions. For example, leaning forward or sitting may relieve pain, because it often reduces pressure on the or nerve roots. For mild to moderate cases, nonsurgical treatment (such as medicines and exercise) can help relieve symptoms and allow you to do normal daily activities.
Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back (lumbar) area. When it does occur in the neck (cervical spinal stenosis) region, it may cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the arms, hands, and legs. If it is severe, you may also have trouble controlling your bladder or bowels.
The course of spinal stenosis varies-it may stay the same, get better, or get worse. Severe disability is not common. But if symptoms become severe, they may not improve without surgery. Severe symptoms may restrict your normal daily activities and affect your quality of life. If symptoms are still severe after a period of time of nonsurgical treatment, surgery may be considered. Surgery may not be an option for some older adults who have other serious health problems that make surgery too risky.