Back Pain Home > Cause of Spinal Stenosis

Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inherited conditions are some of the common causes of spinal stenosis. However, the most common reason people develop this condition is because of changes that occur in the spine due to aging. Spinal stenosis can also be linked to tumors of the spine, injuries, Paget's disease, and too much fluoride in the body.

An Introduction to the Causes of Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis has several possible causes, which include:
 
 

Aging

Changes that occur in the spine as people get older are the most common cause of spinal stenosis. As people get older:
 
  • The bands of tissue that support the spine may get thick and hard
  • Bones and joints may get bigger
  • Surfaces of the bones may bulge out (these are called bone spurs).
 

Arthritis

In some cases, spinal stenosis can be caused by arthritis. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that typically gets worse over time. Two forms that may affect the spine are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
 
Osteoarthritis
Key information about osteoarthritis includes:
 
  • It is the most common form of arthritis
  • It usually occurs in middle-aged and older people
  • It does not go away
  • It may involve many joints in the body
  • It wears away the tough tissue (cartilage) that keeps the joints in place
  • It causes bone spurs and problems with joints.
 
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Key information about rheumatoid arthritis includes:
 
  • It affects most people at a younger age than osteoarthritis
  • It causes the soft tissues of the joints to swell
  • It can affect the internal organs and systems
  • It is not a common cause of spinal stenosis
  • It can cause severe damage, especially to joints.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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