Spinal Cord Stenosis

What is spinal cord stenosis?

Spinal cord stenosis leads to reduced space around the spine within the spinal canal. Spinal stenosis can occur due to osteoarthritis, which leads to increased pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots.

Spinal Stenosis can be graded sepending on the different consequences/causes:

Grade 1 - Mind Spinal Stenosis
It can be treated conservatively depending on causes.

Grade 2 & 3 Mild to Severe
This might require surgical intervention

What are the symptoms?

Pain radiating from the lower back

A heavy sensation in the legs)

Pins and needles in the buttocks, legs and feet

Unable to control bowel and urinary function

Leg weakness due to an advanced stage of spinal stenosis

How do you treat spinal cord stenosis?

Dr Bomela may refer the patient to a physical therapist for mild to moderate pain from spinal stenosis. Alternating between cold and hot temperatures can help alleviate spinal stenosis pain. As a result, the patient can benefit from both heat and cold therapy. In addition, a spinal epidural injection which involves applying medication to the area around the spinal nerves and cord, can relieve pain.

Dr Bomela will strongly suggest surgery if symptoms worsen or the patient notices a loss in movement or sensation. Surgery may consist of more than two surgical techniques and involves the removal of a protruding disc, resection of a small part of the vertebral bone and dilation of the spinal canal where the nerves are situated.

A portion of the bone may be removed to create enough space for the nerves and spinal column. Then, the spinal bones are fused to unify the components to create a single section of bone. The procedure addresses spinal instability and increases the strength of the spine. However, after fusion surgery, the back will become rigid, which makes it prone to arthritis above and below the fused area.

Spine surgery aims to relieve pain in the limbs (arms and legs) for the patient to live a better quality of life. However, spinal stenosis patients can remain active and healthy with ongoing rehabilitation and physical therapy.


1. How does Dr Bomela diagnose spinal cord stenosis?

A physical exam can help locate the region of pain and determine the extent of spinal stenosis.

Dr Bomela conducts the following tests:

  • MRI and CT scan of the spine
  • Spinal x-ray
  • Electromyography

2. What does spinal stenosis pain feel like?

Spinal stenosis pain can range from mild to severe, depending on the stage of the condition. Severe pain feels like a sudden burn. However, the patient can experience numbness or a prickling sensation in the hands and arms (cervical spinal stenosis).

3. What is a common cause of spinal cord stenosis?

Typically, spinal cord stenosis can be attributed to wear and tear over the years or as a result of arthritis.