Spinal Stenosis

Assume that chronic back pain from spinal stenosis is just part of getting older? Seek a second opinion that can get you moving again. Hoag Spine Institute is Southern California's leader for treatment of the neck and spine, and can help you find treatments that lead to less stiffness, more flexibility, greater mobility and less pain. Our unique team of world-class physicians, therapists and pain management specialists, combined with innovative diagnostic technology and progressive treatment options, can help you find a path to life with less back pain. So don't let spinal stenosis keep you down. Hoag can help you heal.

Common Questions

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This causes a “pinching” of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, which leads to pain, cramping, weakness or numbness in the body.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

A rheumatologist will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and conduct a physical exam. Some symptoms he will look for include:

  • Numbness, weakness, cramping or pain anywhere from the neck to the thighs
  • Pain that goes down the leg
  • Abnormal bowel/and or bladder function
  • Loss of sexual function

The doctor may order other tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the seriousness of your condition. These include:

  • An X-ray of the spine to check for osteoarthritis, bone spurs and narrowing of the spinal canal
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan, which takes more detailed images of the back and spinal canal
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the spine to take pictures of the spinal cord and nerves
  • An EMG (electromyogram) to check the nerves going to your legs
  • X-rays of the hips or knees, blood tests, as well as tests to check the circulation in your legs and to rule out other diseases with similar symptoms

What are the risk factors for spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck and is more common in older adults due to arthritis, bone disease, herniated discs, injury or tumors. Though degenerative changes can cause spinal stenosis in younger people, other causes need to be considered. These include trauma, congenital spinal deformity such as scoliosis, and a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development throughout the body. Spinal stenosis prevention is also important and can be achieved by regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Common Questions

I’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Now what do I do?

Trust Hoag. At Hoag, our fellowship-trained team of spine specialists is certified to treat a host of spinal conditions. We’re committed to treating every patient like a person, not a chart. Hoag provides the latest technology and treatments, with minimally-invasive techniques designed to help speed recovery with less pain. Meet the Hoag Spine Center Team.

What treatments are available for spinal stenosis?

The following are some available treatments of Spinal Stenosis.

  • Lifestyle Changes including exercise
  • Physical Therapy to build up strength and maintain flexibility. Spinal stenosis therapy can help patients learn how to safely do activities.
  • Pain Management with medications including pain relievers
  • Cortisone/Steroid Injections
  • Surgery, with potential treatments including removing bone spurs and widening the space between vertebrae. The lower back may also be stabilized by fusing together some of the vertebrae.
Services offered

Minimally-invasive robotic spinal surgery at Hoag

When your spine is on the line, trust Hoag for spine surgery. Hoag was the first hospital on the West Coast to offer the Mazor X Stealth™   advanced robotic navigation platform for spinal surgery. Combining 3D pre-operative planning tools with robotic precision, the system provides surgeons with advanced visualization of your body’s unique internal structures, and you with the great chance to come back strong from back surgery. Learn more about advanced robotic surgery at Hoag.

 Award-Winning Care for the Spine at Hoag

There’s a reason why U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-2023 list of top hospitals ranked Hoag as High Performing — their top distinction — in neurology, neurosurgery and spinal fusion. A higher standard of care. Accurate diagnosis for more successful treatment. A multidisciplinary team of spine-care specialists who are committed to seeing you heal. That’s spinal care at Hoag. Read an essay about a real Hoag patient’s spine-care journey.

Confused about your condition? Trust Hoag Nurse Navigators

Facing a health issue that could involve surgery can be confusing for anyone. That’s why the Hoag Spine Center offers our unique Nurse Navigator program. These trained nurses are there for you, both as a guide and a resource for medically-accurate information about your unique diagnosis. It’s one more way Hoag is here for you through your journey as a patient, every step of the way. Get started with our spine nurse navigator.

Common Questions

What is spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spaces within the spine, which can put pressure on the nerves that travel through the spine. This causes a “pinching” of the spinal cord and/or nerve roots, which leads to pain, cramping, weakness or numbness in the body.

How is spinal stenosis diagnosed?

A rheumatologist will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and conduct a physical exam. Some symptoms he will look for include:

  • Numbness, weakness, cramping or pain anywhere from the neck to the thighs
  • Pain that goes down the leg
  • Abnormal bowel/and or bladder function
  • Loss of sexual function

The doctor may order other tests to confirm the diagnosis and determine the seriousness of your condition. These include:

  • An X-ray of the spine to check for osteoarthritis, bone spurs and narrowing of the spinal canal
  • A computed tomography (CT) scan, which takes more detailed images of the back and spinal canal
  • A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the spine to take pictures of the spinal cord and nerves
  • An EMG (electromyogram) to check the nerves going to your legs
  • X-rays of the hips or knees, blood tests, as well as tests to check the circulation in your legs and to rule out other diseases with similar symptoms

What are the risk factors for spinal stenosis?

Spinal stenosis occurs most often in the lower back and the neck and is more common in older adults due to arthritis, bone disease, herniated discs, injury or tumors. Though degenerative changes can cause spinal stenosis in younger people, other causes need to be considered. These include trauma, congenital spinal deformity such as scoliosis, and a genetic disease affecting bone and muscle development throughout the body. Spinal stenosis prevention is also important and can be achieved by regular exercise, maintaining good posture, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Common Questions

I’ve been diagnosed with spinal stenosis. Now what do I do?

Trust Hoag. At Hoag, our fellowship-trained team of spine specialists is certified to treat a host of spinal conditions. We’re committed to treating every patient like a person, not a chart. Hoag provides the latest technology and treatments, with minimally-invasive techniques designed to help speed recovery with less pain. Meet the Hoag Spine Center Team.

What treatments are available for spinal stenosis?

The following are some available treatments of Spinal Stenosis.

  • Lifestyle Changes including exercise
  • Physical Therapy to build up strength and maintain flexibility. Spinal stenosis therapy can help patients learn how to safely do activities.
  • Pain Management with medications including pain relievers
  • Cortisone/Steroid Injections
  • Surgery, with potential treatments including removing bone spurs and widening the space between vertebrae. The lower back may also be stabilized by fusing together some of the vertebrae.

Services offered

Minimally-invasive robotic spinal surgery at Hoag

When your spine is on the line, trust Hoag for spine surgery. Hoag was the first hospital on the West Coast to offer the Mazor X Stealth™   advanced robotic navigation platform for spinal surgery. Combining 3D pre-operative planning tools with robotic precision, the system provides surgeons with advanced visualization of your body’s unique internal structures, and you with the great chance to come back strong from back surgery. Learn more about advanced robotic surgery at Hoag.

 Award-Winning Care for the Spine at Hoag

There’s a reason why U.S. News and World Report’s 2022-2023 list of top hospitals ranked Hoag as High Performing — their top distinction — in neurology, neurosurgery and spinal fusion. A higher standard of care. Accurate diagnosis for more successful treatment. A multidisciplinary team of spine-care specialists who are committed to seeing you heal. That’s spinal care at Hoag. Read an essay about a real Hoag patient’s spine-care journey.

Confused about your condition? Trust Hoag Nurse Navigators

Facing a health issue that could involve surgery can be confusing for anyone. That’s why the Hoag Spine Center offers our unique Nurse Navigator program. These trained nurses are there for you, both as a guide and a resource for medically-accurate information about your unique diagnosis. It’s one more way Hoag is here for you through your journey as a patient, every step of the way. Get started with our spine nurse navigator.