Spinal stenosis is a narrowing in the spine that puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. It is most common in the lower back and is usually caused by aging and arthritis.

Cervical spinal stenosis means that there is possible compression of the spinal cord. Spinal cord compression can lead to serious issues such as extreme weakness or paralysis. With cervical stenosis, anyone who develops symptoms of spinal cord compression (myelopathy) may need surgery.

In lumbar stenosis, the spinal nerve roots in the lower back become compressed. This can produce symptoms of sciatica—tingling, weakness or numbness that radiates from the low back into the buttocks and legs, especially during physical activity.

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

Some people with spinal stenosis have symptoms, but other people do not.

Symptoms include:

  • Back pain
  • Sharp pain in the butt that goes down the leg (sciatica)
  • Numbness or tingling in the buttox or legs
  • Weakness in the leg, or a feeling while walking that the foot slaps on the ground.
  • If you have spinal stenosis, you may have less pain when you lean forward or sit