The term spinal stenosis describes a narrowing of the spinal canal. It usually occurs in the lumbar vertebrae of elderly people and is very common overall. Wear-induced changes in the vertebral and intervertebral joints, ligaments and intervertebral discs lead to a narrowing of the spinal canal with irritations of the spinal cord nerves. Standing or walking leads to a relative thickening and shortening of the ligamentum flavum, which often intensifies the nerve irritations.
The conservative treatment options are limited by the degree of constriction; if there is no alleviation of symptoms, relief operations are performed, which often require stiffening of the spinal area.
A more recent outpatient surgical procedure involves the implantation of a spreader that is stretched between the spinous processes to widen the narrowed canal.
Spinal canal stenosis is the most common reason for spinal surgery in people over 60 years of age.