How Common Is Spinal Stenosis?

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How Common Is Spinal Stenosis?

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Spinal stenosis is often the result of the aging process, which over time causes the soft tissues and bones in the spine to harden or grow excessively. These changes may narrow the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord and/or spinal nerve roots. Spinal stenosis is seen most often in adults older than age 50. Even though narrowing of the spinal canal may be equally common in men and women, symptoms of spinal stenosis occur more frequently in women.1

Some people develop spinal stenosis because of back problems they are born with. This is known as congenital spinal stenosis. Symptoms of congenital spinal stenosis are often first noticed before age 40.1

Related Information



  1. Isaac Z, et al. (2005). Lumbar spinal stenosis. In WJ Koopman, ed., Arthritis and Allied Conditions: A Textbook of Rheumatology, 15th ed., vol. 2, pp. 2087–2092. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Robert B. Keller, MD - Orthopedics
Last Revised April 6, 2010

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