Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of one or more areas of the spine. This narrowing, which occurs most often in the lower back or neck, can put pressure on the spinal cord or nerves that branch out from the squeezed areas. Typically, a person with this condition complains of severe pain in the legs, calves or lower back when standing or walking. Pain may come on more quickly when walking up or down a hill, a ramp or steps. Usually, it is relieved by sitting down or leaning over.
However, not all patients with spinal narrowing develop symptoms – and we still don’t understand why. Because of this, the term “spinal stenosis” actually refers to the symptoms of pain and not to the narrowing itself.