UOI Lecture Series Episode 5: Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis occurs when there is not enough room in the spinal canal for the spinal nerves. Stenosis is a condition that can develop as a person ages, particularly in those over 50. At first, you may not even know you have it. But, over time, it can lead to serious and permanent damage if it becomes advanced or remains untreated.

This condition resembles placing a ring on your finger. If the finger becomes injured or inflamed, the ring constricts and causes pain. The pain caused by stenosis is usually focused in the low back area and can shoot down the legs and can flare up after walking or exercising. Sometimes pain from spinal stenosis can be relieved temporarily by leaning forward or sitting. Pain typically increases when the person bends backward. Stenosis can be treated nonsurgically, but some cases require surgery in order to create more space around the nerves.

Conditions that may encourage the development of stenosis include scoliosis, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal tumors, and trauma. Symptoms of stenosis include a deep aching in the low back, buttocks, and thigh, and intense numbness or pain in the legs and sometimes the shoulders. Symptoms can be brought on by walking and exercise. If you have stenosis, you may notice that pain is sometimes relieved by sitting or by a position in which the spine is flexed forward and bending over. Consequently, people with stenosis may walk with a hunched-over posture and find that their pain worsens when bending backward. Severe cases of stenosis will display more serious symptoms such as loss of bowel and bladder function and loss of feeling in an arm/leg.

About Dr. Kuris

Eren Kuris, MD is a Board-Eligible spine surgeon who specializes in complex spinal disorders. He is an assistant professor of orthopaedics at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and a member of both the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association.
Dr. Kuris is fellowship-trained in both orthopaedic trauma and spine surgery. He received his medical degree from Tulane University in New Orleans and completed his orthopedic surgery residency at Brown University. After residency, he completed an orthopaedic trauma fellowship at Brown University, followed by a spine surgery fellowship at the University of Colorado. He specializes in spinal care, including spine deformity, spine trauma, spine infections, and degenerative conditions such as disc degeneration, disc herniations, and spinal arthritis.