Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the lumbar or cervical spinal canal. The narrowing can cause compression of nerve roots resulting in pain or weakness of the legs (lumbar spinal stenosis) or arms (cervical spinal stenosis). Medications or steroid injections are often administered to reduce inflammation. If the pain is persistent and does not respond to these conservative measures, surgery is considered to relieve the pressure on the nerves.
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.