Many people have evidence of spinal stenosis on X-rays, but may not have signs or symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they often start gradually and worsen over time. Symptoms vary, depending on the location of the stenosis:

  • In the neck (cervical spine). Cervical stenosis can cause numbness, weakness or tingling in a leg, foot, arm or hand. Tingling in the hand is the most common symptom, and many people also report problems with walking and balance. Nerves to the bladder or bowel may be affected, leading to incontinence.
  • In the lower back (lumbar spine). Compressed nerves in your lumbar spine can cause pain or cramping in your legs when you stand for long periods of time or when you walk. The discomfort usually eases when you bend forward or sit down.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have persistent pain, numbness or weakness in your back, legs or arms.

Nov. 18, 2015