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Lumbar and Cervical Spinal Stenosis

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Updated September 07, 2013

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Causes of Spinal Stenosis
Most of the time spinal stenosis is caused by the degenerative changes associated with aging. Spinal stenosis can be categorized as primary, which is basically genetic. Other causes of spinal stenosis are:
  • Tumors, which press on the spinal cord and nerve roots. Most spinal tumors are found between the vertebrae and the spinal cord, but there may be in other areas, as well. Tumors can occur anywhere in the spine. They are usually from cancers that have migrated from another part of the body.
  • Injury from car accidents and other kinds of trauma pulls the spine out of alignment, putting pressure in abnormal places in the spine, including nervous tissue. In this case, the spinal cord and/or nerve roots can be affected.
  • Heredity, (including achondroplasia), or a small spinal canal present at birth will cause symptoms in younger people.
  • Paget's Disease, a bone disease in which bones enlarge and become deformed, can encroach on the spaces in the spine.
  • Flurosis, or an excess of fluoride in the body, can calcify spinal ligaments, which will compress and shorten the spine. This is not typically a cause of stenosis in the United States.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Ossification of the posterior longitudinal Ligament (OPLL)
  • Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH)
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