Technical Terms - Well Explained

Spinal Stenosis

Exostoses of bone tissue or protrusions of disk tissue can lead to constrictions at the nerve exits of the vertebral joints (foraminal stenoses) or in the spinal canal (spinal stenoses). This results in the irritation of the nerve roots as well as feelings of numbness and instability while walking.

A foraminal stenosis can be caused by facet arthrosis. This phenomenon of wear and tear results in an increased development of wild bone mass, which may constrict the nerve exit from behind. Yet disk tissue invading the nerve exit or exostoses of the vertebral bodies can pressure it also from the front.

This can happen, for example, following old disk prolapses or in the wake of degenerative changes in the disks (osteochondrosis). All this results in the irritation of the relevant nerve root and radiates out into the back and legs, including feelings of "furriness", prickles and needles, an antsy kind of itching and the loss of reflexes. In spinal stenoses, there is a difference between primary and secondary forms. Primary means that a person has already been born with a constricted spinal canal.

Yet many people above the age of 60 suffer from a secondary stenosis caused by wear and tear, meaning an acquired constriction of the spinal canal. This constriction may have different causes: damaged spinal disks which protrude, and exostoses of bone tissue at the intervertebral joints (spondylophytes), but also a thickening of the ligamentum flavum, the ligament, which holds both vertebral bodies together, thus adding stability to the spine.


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