Chronic Back Pain and Spinal Stenosis Symptoms
Unchecked, damage to the nerves can lead to numbness, paraesthesia (tingling sensations), and weakness in limbs. Longer bouts of exercise are likely to exacerbate the symptoms, which can initially be somewhat alleviated for some by lying down and/or flexing forward. Eventually endurance exercise becomes almost impossible and pain relievers reduce in efficacy, necessitating spinal stenosis surgery or other intervention.
Asymptomatic Spinal Stenosis and Spinal Cord Compression
Some older people have spinal stenosis and are asymptomatic, this likely depends on other factors such as inflammation, how extensive the narrowing is and where it occurs. If compression worsens and affects the spinal cord itself then myelopathy can occur, resulting in severe spinal stenosis symptoms such as loss of balance, chronic pain, loss of bladder function, and problems with fine motor skills. The damage is now not simply isolated to intermittent compression of one particular nerve, but consistent pressure affecting all of the nerves exiting the spine below the problem area and causing extensive symptoms.
Back Pain, Weakness, and Numbness
If spinal stenosis continues unchecked and is due to something such as hypertrophy of ligaments or bone surrounding the spinal column then problems may become more generalized as a result. The hypertrophy (abnormal growth) could indicate an underlying problem which will not remain isolated, but instead arise in other areas of the spine, causing further symptoms. For example, stenosis may first be noticed in the lower back (lumbar spinal stenosis) causing pain down the back of the legs and buttocks. Hypertrophy may also be occurring in the upper spine where this results in symptoms in the neck, head, and arms. Understanding the pathology at work when first observing the lower spine condition could help prevent the condition worsening and even spreading to degeneration in the upper vertebrae of the cervical spine, with severe long-term effects of spinal stenosis thus avoided.