Spinal Stenosis (Facet Joint Syndrome)
Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spinal column. It causes compression of the spinal cord or the nerve roots as they pass down or as they leave the spinal column.
The compression can cause painful symptoms due to irritation of the nerve roots and numbness and tingling in the legs and arms, or more rarely around the body. In more severe cases the function of the bladder and bowel can be affected.
Spinal stenosis can happen anywhere down the length of the spinal column but usually affects the lumbar, the bottom curve, or cervical, the top curve, portions of the spinal column. It can be in the middle of the spinal column, central stenosis, to the sides as the nerve roots pass down inside the column, lateral recess stenosis, or catch the nerve roots in the little channels by which they exit the spine, foraminal stenosis. These can all give similar symptoms, but foraminal stenosis tends to act more like sciatica.
Spinal stenosis has a number of possible causes including; degenerative, disc prolapse, herniation or bulge, or congenital. It can be caused by a combination of these factors.