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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - Cause

The most common cause of lumbar spinal stenosis is changes in the spine that can happen as you get older.

These changes include thickening of soft tissues, development of bony spurs, and gradual breakdown of spinal discs camera.gif and joints. Any of these conditions can narrow the spinal canal.

Spinal stenosis usually happens gradually. Symptoms may start when the changes begin to squeeze the spinal cord or its nerve roots camera.gif.

These age-related changes often happen when you have certain disorders:

Also, other conditions may cause spinal stenosis, such as:

  • An abnormally narrow spinal canal, which can be an inherited condition.
  • Spondylolysis, which is a defect or fracture on one or both of the wing-shaped parts of a vertebra. A vertebra may slide forward or backward over the bone below and may squeeze the spinal cord or a nerve root.
  • Spinal fracture.
  • Cancer.
  • Fibrosis, which is excess, ropy tissue much like scar tissue. It can come from having spine surgery in the past.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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