Spinal Stenosis Pain Treatment

  • slipped disc

Spinal stenosis pain is a common spinal condition that typically occurs in people over 50. However, the condition could also arise in younger people who have sustained spinal injuries or have a narrow spinal canal. 

Many people with this condition experience some type of spinal stenosis pain or weakness, but some people are completely asymptomatic.

What Is Spinal Stenosis Pain?

Spinal stenosis is a condition in which the space in your spinal column gets narrowed. Your spine protects your spinal cord and allows you to stand, bend over, and twist from side to side. When the spaces between your spine get narrowed, it can put pressure on your spinal cord and the nerves located there. This is why many people face numbness or pain with spinal stenosis.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis Pain

As mentioned above, many people experience pain with spinal stenosis, but that is not the symptom that this condition can cause. Sometimes people experience no symptoms. Often, if someone does experience symptoms of spinal stenosis, they start slowly and worsen over time.

Before diving into the various symptoms of spinal stenosis, it is important to note that this condition can occur in the low back or the neck. Your symptoms will depend on where your stenosis is.


Spinal stenosis in the neck typically causes:

  • Neck pain
  • Numbness or pins-and-needles that travels down the arms and hands
  • Weakness in your arms, hands, or fingers

Low Back

Spinal stenosis in the back can cause:

  • Pain in the low back
  • Numbness or pins-and-needles in the legs and feet that may become more pronounced when standing or walking
  • Weakness in the legs or feet
  • Aching or burning pain that radiates down the butt and leg towards the foot that gets worse when standing or walking and feels better when leaning forward (sciatica)
  • Trouble walking or balancing

Severe cases of stenosis may also affect bowel function, bladder function, and sexual function. Contact your healthcare provider or a back pain specialist immediately if you notice a change in any of these functions.


Spinal stenosis can be caused by many different injuries, conditions, or simply the wear and tear of aging. Essentially, the cause of spinal stenosis can be anything that changes the spine’s structure and narrows the space around your spinal cord and nerve roots. When these nerves become pinched, they result in pain (such as sciatica) mentioned above in the common symptoms section.

Some common causes of spinal stenosis are:

  • General wear and tear on the spine
  • Bulging or herniated disks
  • Bone overgrowths
  • Spinal fractures or injuries
  • Thickened ligaments around the spinal column
  • Spinal cord tumors or cysts
  • A congenital spinal deformity — such as scoliosis or congenital spinal stenosis

How to Diagnose Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is diagnosed by a medical professional using imaging technology — such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. Your healthcare provider will request these imaging services after you undergo a physical examination. This examination will typically include your healthcare provider pressing on certain areas of your spine and asking that you walk and bend in specific ways to assess what makes your pain worse and what relieves it. During this test, they will also check your balance and arm and leg strength.

Spinal Stenosis Treatment

There is no cure for spinal stenosis; it is progressive, like arthritis. But, if left untreated, it can worsen, and the spine will continue narrowing, leading to more severe symptoms. There are some home remedies that you can use to help relieve this back pain, but if you want to manage your pain better and reduce your risk of developing worsening symptoms, it may be best to contact a healthcare services center like Carolina’s Pain Center.

  • Heating and cooling — Heat can help relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. Applying cold, however, is best for reducing inflammation, tenderness, and swelling.
  • Exercising — You should check with your doctor before undergoing any strenuous exercise, but exercise can help to relieve pain and strengthen the muscles that support your spine. It can also help to improve flexibility and balance.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications — Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, or naproxen can all help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. These medications are not meant to be taken long-term so if your pain is not subsiding, contact your doctor to discuss other options.
  • Physical therapy — Physical therapists can help you develop a back-focused exercise program that can help you regain strength, balance, flexibility, and spine stability. This can help make your spine more resilient, which can help lessen the pressure on your nerves.
  • Steroid injections — These injections near the nerve roots being pinched can help reduce inflammation, irritation, and pain. Only three to four injections can be given a year because the corticosteroids can weaken surrounding tissues and bones over time.
  • Surgery — A few different types of spinal surgeries can help relieve spinal stenosis pain. However, because the spinal column is so complex and delicate, surgery is typically only considered when all of the options above have failed.

How to Prevent Spinal Stenosis

Unfortunately, since many cases of spinal stenosis are due to natural wear and tear on the spine, there is no way to prevent spinal stenosis with 100% certainty. But there are a few things that you can do to lessen your risk of developing this condition or slow its progression.

Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight

This means following a healthy diet and ensuring to incorporate movement into your day, primarily if you work at a desk or do not naturally get a lot of activity during the day. The more weight we have, the harder our spine and legs need to work to move. This can strain your body and lead to conditions like spinal stenosis.

Practicing Good Posture 

Good posture keeps our joints and bones in the correct alignment, so our muscles can be used correctly. Maintaining good posture helps to lessen the amount of wear and tear and strain placed on joints and ligaments and prevent fatigue from the incorrect use of our muscles.


Working your core and back muscles is one of the best ways to lessen your likelihood of developing any type of back injury or condition. These muscles stabilize our spine and make bending, twisting, and even standing much easier on the spine.

Why Choose Carolina’s Pain Center?

If you live near Charlotte, Denver, or Huntersville, North Carolina, and you are struggling with back pain, Carolina’s Pain Center can help you get the treatment you need. We offer personalized treatment plans tailored to your needs because everyone’s experience with any chronic condition is different.

To learn more about what treatment options are available to you and get started with your treatment plan, make an appointment with Carolina’s Pain Center.


2021 Feb; 56(1): 9–17. Published online 2020 Jul 23. doi: 10.1055/s-0040-1712490
2020 Oct; 14(5): 682–693. Published online 2020 Oct 14. doi: 10.31616/asj.2020.0472

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