Charlottesville Pain Management Center - Interventional Pain Specialist, Musculoskeletal and Sports Medicine

Symptoms of Spinal Stenosis

The symptoms of spinal stenosis vary widely.  It is important to note that just because an X-ray or scan demonstrates some spinal stenosis, many people do not have any symptoms. In fact, it is very common to see evidence of spinal stenosis in many people that never have any problems with back pain.  Often, the symptoms of spinal stenosis begin as non-specific back pain.  Typically the pain is worse with standing or walking and relieved when sitting.  This is a very common characteristic of spinal stenosis. If your back and leg pain are always worse when standing or walking and relieved when you sit or bend forward, you may have spinal stenosis. Bending forward while walking such as leaning on a shopping cart at the store will often reduce the symptoms.  If the narrowing of the spinal canal increases people will often develop pain that radiates into the legs. Commonly there is aching into the thighs or even pain below the knees. The legs can feel heavy or weak after walking or standing for a period of time. People will sometimes also feel numbness in the legs. Sometimes there is a feeling of being unstable or a loss of balance while standing or walking.